Year 2 Day 38
Read - Acts 16v11-15
Message - Scott Woodburn
Paul's desire to preach the Gospel in Asia was silenced by the Lord. Instead he was to travel into Europe and take the Gospel to a land appointed by the Lord. We can sometimes be frustrated when our own plans do not come to fruition. We often believe that we have the right answers and the right ways and of course we are never wrong! Thankfully the Lord forgives our ignorance and always ensures that His purposes come to pass.
Instead of Asia, Paul and his group are in Philippi. Philippi was named after Alexander the Great's father and was a distinctly Roman city. Paul travels to the riverside on the Sabbath day to pray but soon engages some local women in conversation (v13). We have no record of the chat but one woman called Lydia finds herself listening to everything said by Paul (v14).
Lydia was from Thyatira, a Greek city in present day Turkey. She was also a seller of purple goods, indicating that she was involved in the cloth industry for the wealthy. In Paul's day purple may have been your favourite colour but only those of wealth could afford such garments. Luke tells us that Lydia was also a religious woman. She was a worshipper of God which suggests that she had some regard for the Lord without converting to Judaism.
Suddenly in the life of one woman we see God's sovereign plan come into play. The Lord opens Lydia's heart to pay attention to Paul and soon she is converted to the Christian faith (v15). More than that she provides the evangelists with a base of operations, insisting that they stay at her house. The Lord is no fool and His paths are never fruitless. The Gospel enters into Europe and by the riverside Lydia drinks from the water of life.
As people we always want to know what the future holds. We make plans and spreadsheets and we check every angle kidding ourselves that our ways are right and they will come to pass. Brothers and sisters, we plan in ignorance. We do not have all the answers and we cannot know all of the outcomes. Instead as we walk by faith and not by sight, we trust the all knowing God to always do what is right. His Word never returns unto Him void and He will accomplish all that He purposes.
How can we respond to such truth? Andrew Bonar, a Presbyterian minister of the 1800s, still speaks "Never be perplexed as to the next step; that is the Lord's work." Amen.
Q49 Which is the second commandment? The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.