In chapter 20, The Holy Spirit warned Paul that he would be persecuted and imprisoned. He was mentally prepared for it and surrender to the possibility of dying for the cause of Christ. (See Chapter 20’s devotion) But those who cared for him beg him not to go to Jerusalem. They couldn't bear the thought of what was coming.
Have you ever noticed when the Holy Spirit reveals something to you, all of a sudden, you seem to hear it all around you from other people, social media posts, preachers, the radio, or even billboards? Similar to buying a white Honda. Now you see them everywhere. I always call it getting into the Spirit’s current. His flow, and what is circulating with those who are hearing and operating in prophecy and discernment. The buzz word following Paul is persecution. Delightful. Chapter 21 Verses 9-11 describe Paul’s encounter with a few prophets, and one guy actually performs a prophetic act, displaying to Paul the suffering he will soon be facing. Thanks for the visual Agabus.
“He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.” Acts of the Apostles 21:9-11 NLT
Although the author of Acts (Presumed to be Luke) doesn’t tell us that the four daughters warned Paul of the pain awaiting him, I can’t help but think they did. Only because the verse mentions the gift of prophecy on the four daughters and on Agabus, warning Paul of his captivity.
With a warning prophesy, those who loved Paul begged him not to go. More than likely, they assumed the warning was to keep Paul from harm; but their love was clouding their judgment. In the last devotion, I compared Paul to being deployed. When a soldier is called to war, there are dangers, warnings, and the possibility of captivity or death, yet they still go because they swore an oath. Like all those on the front line, they know what they are getting into, and they run towards danger, not from it. All the love in the world, hoping to keep their friend alive was not enough for Paul to stay away from the threat and disobey orders from the God of angle Armies. Paul also swore an oath. He was called to preach the gospel at all costs. To contend for the salvation of the Gentiles. To share the love of a risen Savior. And this message would bring the hammer down on his life.
Perhaps this is why the Spirit warned Paul what awaited him: In a way, it warned him that others might attempt to detour him from the suffering that lied ahead. But God prepared Paul warning him first, he was going into the fire. Even with prophetic words of caution, Paul chose to run toward the danger.
When God puts something on your heart that may come with pain, could those you love talk you out of chasing the vision? Could they convince you to avoid the danger? To say "NO" to the assignment from heaven? I never want to be the girl who shrinks back from the call because it hurts to answer. How bout you?