GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR TESTIMONY
When we testify about the works of God in our lives, we are putting on full display the trust we have in God as His acts show his trustworthiness. Let that sink in for a bit. When we testify, we are not telling simply our story but how we are fitting into His story. The opposition to Paul is getting more ridiculous as time passes but despite the evil intentions of men, God is turning the tables on them by fulfilling His plan regardless of what they plan to do. God is a mysterious God in that, at times we will not be able to understand what He is doing and how He is going to do the things that He has told us but we can only control one thing, how we choose to live with trust in God. Today, the plans of God for your life may be clear, unclear, unknown, or anything in between but those are things that are outside of your control. Out of the few things that we are actually able to control in our lives is our choice on whether we want to trust God through following in His ways by choosing to act, think, and talk like Him.
There is a proverb in the Bible that is powerful when we choose to understand and live by it as it goes like this,
“The heart of man plans his ways, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
Let us plan but let us be open to to following the path that He creates.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
This was part of yesterday’s passage but this verse sets up the rest of the story in this chapter. The Lord tells Paul to take courage as he lays out his destiny by revealing the destination of where Paul will testify about God. Though the time of it’s fulfillment was the next day, which is a short time frame, there is a guideline that we can take away when it comes to hearing God’s word.
The temptation to get discouraged by a prophetic word is as possible as being encouraged by it because it will depend upon whether it happens or not. When God gives a word directly or through another person, the word that He gives you not only is applicable to the present circumstance in your life but may happen later as well. Paul doesn’t end up in Rome till later in his life and he goes through many pit stops before it’s fulfillment. The way we are to receive prophetic words is with patience and trust for only time will tell if it’s true or not. A helpful way to remember and wait for prophetic words are the following:
Keep a journal of it and once in a while check in to see if it has been fulfilled.
Trust that the word God gives you is for His glory and for your good.
When things don’t make sense and may not happen right away, trust that God is working in ways beyond your comprehension in the moment. A lot of times God is doing something that we cannot see because we cannot understand in that moment and until we matured in trust with Him that later we will understand what the point of it all was.
12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
The Jews really hate Paul! Forty people made a pact to never eat or drink till Paul dies and can you just sit back and realize how extra these people are?!?! What is so ironic in the midst of all this is that they make an oath before God and tell the religious leaders about it when in reality that their oath to God is actually going against God! There are several things that can be learned from this ironic situation:
People can intend evil against you but the Lord will use that evil to turn it around to fulfill his will. This doesn’t mean that evil is allowable because the outcome was good but that God uses intention of people to ultimately get His will done as those people are still accountable to their actions.
God is mysterious. What a funny way to use ironic situations to still fulfill plans. When God makes a plan, sometimes he does it in the most strangest of ways so therefore don’t put God in a box or reduce His movements to a familiar formula!
When we do things for God we must not be like these people who think they are living for God’s will. How do we prevent ourselves from acting like these foolish men?
Check the motivation of your heart. If you feel you have to kill someone for God, might want to check that revelation again because that is not God!
Does my plan align with God’s heart? How do we know God’s heart, seek His heart through prayer and the word. Are you reflecting Jesus Christ or nah?
Despite the plans of these forty would be assassins, the Lord foils their plan as He fulfills His. Paul in the meantime is just focusing on testifying and doing God’s will and that again is the one of few things we can ever control.