Guidance

Opening Prayer

Lord, I trust You with all my heart; I lean not on my own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

Read Acts 16:6–15

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Reflect

Pause for a moment to list all of the different ways in which you might consider that God has provided direction in your life.

Paul and his companions travel north. During this part of the journey we get another mysterious reference to the Holy Spirit’s guidance—in this case, negatively: they were prevented from preaching in the province of Asia. Now, in keeping with the strategic importance of crossing into Europe, God guides Paul by means of an extraordinary and dramatic vision: a man of Macedonia who invites them to cross into Europe to preach the Gospel.
We are often looking for a blueprint as to how God will guide us. I once had an older friend who would counsel me (and anyone else who wanted to know!): “Don’t move a muscle until God makes clear what you should do.” Unfortunately, he didn’t have any advice as to how God was going to do that, and I soon realized that he didn’t actually live by his own advice. The truth is that there is no final blueprint and we should not elevate this incident in Paul’s life above other ways of guidance, any more than we should do the same with the famous incident of Gideon’s fleece (Judg. 6:36–40). Gideon’s actions are certainly not a model for others to follow.

Apply

How do you “hear from God” when Bible reading? Write down what stands out to you from the Word today.

Closing prayer

Speak to me, God. Prepare me to wait in Your presence as I read Your Word.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider