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Paul and Jerusalem – The Results Show

The Prophecy of Agabus by Louis Cheron

Yesterday, I posed a question. Here are a few verses we were considering:

After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. ...

As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:4, 10-12 NASB

The Question:

The ponderable on the table here is whether the disciples were right and Paul should have stayed out of Jerusalem. Or was Paul hearing perfectly, and the disciples were missing the point of what the Spirit was saying. They came pretty close (but not perfect - that’s a conversation for another day) as to what would happen when He got there. But did they mis-read God’s intention for Paul.

What if I told you Paul  could have stayed or gone and never missed God’s best for him?

Many Christians are stuck because they find themselves unable to make a decision. They are afraid they will miss God’s best in their life, if they make one wrong move.

I’m not talking about sin here.

Trust me on this, if among your choices is a clear violation of who God is and what He has commanded, there may be some consequences in your natural and spiritual life.

But let’s get back to Paul’s situation. He had what he believed was the voice of God (I’m not saying it wasn’t) and the council of men and women of faith.

Agabus was not some fly by night, hot and cold saint. He had a solid record of good prophecy. This is from about ten years earlier:

One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. - Acts 11:28 NASB

So who missed God?

What if?

What if the Father gave Paul the choice?

What if he could have picked either one and ended up in God’s perfect will?

What if God was able to work in and through Paul even if he chose not to go to Jerusalem?

Paul taught us in Romans 8:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28 NASB

And the writer of Hebrews tells us:

… for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. - Hebrews 11:6 NASB

Paul was a called and diligent seeker after God’s heart. The fact that He would again face chains did not persuade him to fade back from where He believed the Lord was leading.

This was not like his canceled stop in Bithynia:

and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; - Acts 16:7 NASB


So - let’s bring the question closer to home. Can you miss God’s best for your life?

Again, let’s put blatant sin out of the picture. If that godly woman in your church makes you think you should divorce your wife, and marry her, think again (or stop thinking altogether because your brain needs a break—or brakes.)

But what if you find yourself, in diligent pursuit of the Father’s will, with two or more really good options? What if your oikos (the circle of fellowship and love the Lord has placed in your life) is not giving counsel that resonates or clarifies.

Just go for it.

When He said He would work all thing for your good, He really meant all things. God has seen the potential outcome of every choice you have ever made, or ever will, and has a plan ready to go.

Have you ever gotten a video, with an alternate ending. God’s got racks and racks of alternate endings with your name on them. Each one ends well, not only for you, but for all of His vast family.

It’s a little mind-blowing when you start to take all the choices made by all those called by His name and mix up all the possibilities. Factor in the chance circumstances that get sprinkled liberally into our lives. Now ponder how the infinite mind of God has fashioned our destiny from all that.

I can’t find words immense enough to even describe the mind and heart of God.

So be encouraged. Don’t be afraid to act. As long as you’re not violating love—aka God’s law—follow God’s leading as best you can and believe He will take care of the rest.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

You’re a blessing. Keep shining.


3 thoughts on “Paul and Jerusalem – The Results Show

  1. joseph elon lillie

    Really liked this Ben. I think you are right both Agabus and Paul were right. What Agabus said came to pass and Paul was good with it (even if other people weren't). And there's the rub Paul had already been prepared to suffer by God (the book of Acts says that God showed Paul "what great things he would have to suffer" for the name of God). While God showed Paul all those things He did not show them to the church and so they reacted as people who have not gotten revelation react. Could Paul have chosen not to go, probably. Would it have turned out the same anyway? Probably. The suffering was coming, God had said so. Paul just made a choice to not be afraid of what was to come and I think that is the beauty of the situation.

    1. Ben Nelson

      I almost quoted that verse where the Father show Paul all that he would suffer as part of this conversation - thanks for bringing it in.


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