July 21, 2022 Jubilee Community Church

God's Guidance

God's Guidance

Jubilee Fam,

So much lands on the cutting room floor between preparing for the sermon and having a finished product for Sunday morning. An example is a quote from John Stott’s commentary on Acts that I didn’t get to use on Sunday, so I’m going to take this opportunity to share it with you. I was helped by it and hope the same for you. The quote is in connection with Acts 16:6-10. There are many takeaway points we can gather from our text from Sunday. One of those takeaways is insights into what we can learn from the story about how Paul and his team decided which direction to go. How do you determine the direction you ought to take in a situation, especially if it involves something you can’t go to a chapter and verse in the Bible for guidance? Check the quote out below for some good pointers — 

Some important principles of divine guidance are, in fact, exemplified in the experience of Paul and his companions. God led them by a combination of factors, over a period of time, ending when they pondered their meaning together. First came the double prohibition, somehow barring their way into both Asia and Bithynia, and leading them to Troas, whose harbor faced west to Macedonia. This was followed by the night vision calling to Paul for help. These circumstances were the basis for their discussion, as they asked themselves and each other what these things indicated. They then put two and two together, the negative (the block to Asia and Bithynia) and the positive (the appeal to Macedonia), and concluded that through these various experiences, God was calling them to go over to Macedonia to ‘help’, that is, to preach the gospel there.

From this, we may learn that usually, God’s guidance is not negative only but also positive (some doors close, others open); not circumstantial only, but also rational (thinking about our situation); not personal only, but also corporate (a sharing of the data with others, so that we can mull over them together and reach a common mind). Indeed the verb symbibazō in verse 10, translated ‘assuredly gathering’ (av), ‘concluding’ (rsv, niv, neb) and ‘convinced’ (jbp, jb), means literally to ‘bring together’, to ‘put together in one’s mind’ (GT), and so to infer something from a variety of data.

What I appreciate about this quote is the combination of factors that go into seeking the Lord’s will in our decision-making process. We take note of the circumstances, put some good thought into the situation and do not act rashly, and, significantly, chop it up within our giving community so we can think about it together. This pushes against our tendency to be individualistic in our decision-making. This doesn’t mean we have to talk to everybody, but wisdom does call that we speak to somebody and trust that the Lord also guides us through the community of the body. These factors, of course, don’t cover all that needs to be done in making wise decisions, but they are good bases to cover.

Much grace to you, Jubilee,

Pastor Lew