Acts 21:4 – And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
I cannot begin to recall how many times in my half-century of ministry I have heard people say they must do something now, only to come back later remorseful over their errors, the people they hurt, and even the loss of their ministry. In some of those cases, what they said God told them to do was completely off base; total error. And often, the Scriptures pointed to that, but they would not listen. Drive and passion are powerful agents. But in many of those cases, it was not that they should not do what they did, but they simply were not ready to make that move, nor were those to whom that move was made ready to receive or act upon it. It was a matter of timing, not on God’s part, but on the person’s part. The Scriptures offer a number of examples of this kind of thing happening. Here are some for your consideration.
- Consider Paul the Apostle. He was warned not to go to Jerusalem. He was warned by Holy Spirit, by words from the four daughters of Philip, and by a word from the prophet Agabus. If he had but waited, things would have been different, and he would not have spent many years of limited ministry in the custody of Rome. What do you suppose Paul could have accomplished had all his final years in ministry been free to go anywhere the Lord led him?
- No one has ever walked on this earth with more passion and drive than Jesus. It should also be noted that Jesus NEVER missed the mark in following Father’s plan. There were, however, people, including Jesus’s mother, Mary, who attempted to entice Him to do certain things. Mary knew who He was. And at the wedding feast of Cana, she called on Him when they ran out of wine. Consider His response. In John 2:4, He told Mary, “My hour is not yet come.” This was not His wedding, so it was not time for Him to be the supplier of wine. Yet her faith in Him moved Him to help her. Oh, what a great lesson to learn here. Faith moves God on behalf of the person of faith, even though He would not personally do a thing on His own.
- Pressure was applied to Jesus to go ahead and set up His kingdom while He was in His earthly ministry. But Jesus, knowing the stage was not properly set for such a work, refused. It would certainly have been a good thing for Jesus to be in control, but at that time, it was not the right thing. A good thing at the wrong time is not the right thing.
Manna for Today – Acts 21:1-16; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Romans 5:5