GOD’S HAND OF PROVIDENCE

Scripture Reading:  Acts 16:6-10

“And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:10)

The three missionaries (Paul, Silas and Timothy) were making their way through the regions of Phyrgia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit was guiding them there.  We are told that the Holy Spirit had forbidden them to speak in Asia (v. 6).  I am not sure how this happened, but I know the Holy Spirit leads and guides.

The Spirit continued to guide the threesome so much so that when they attempted to go into Bithynia, “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” to do so (v. 7).  They passed by Mysia and went to Troas where Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia standing and urging him to come to Macedonia to help the people there (vs. 8,9).  Paul concluded from his dream that God had called them to preach the gospel to the people there (v. 10).

We know that Paul was an instrument of God’s hand in the writing of Scripture.  Paul and the Apostles had special revelations from God.  The writers of Scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit and wrote the very words God intended for them to write.  And as it is in our passage today, God gave direct revelation to Paul and the other apostles on occasion.

Direct revelation, like the Apostles and the other writers of Scripture had, no longer takes place.  We have the completed Scriptures as our sole authority for faith and practice.  However, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit no longer guides and directs us.  God’s providential hand is very much at work in each of our lives.

How does the Holy Spirit direct and guide us?  First and foremost, He does so through the Word of God and prayer.  As we read and meditate upon the Scriptures and seek God in prayer, the Holy Spirit illuminates our hearts.  Second, the Holy Spirit guides us through circumstances.  He opens and closes doors.  He places us in certain situations that help direct us.  Third, the Holy Spirit influences our minds and thoughts.  He prompts us to remember something or brings a passage of Scripture to the forefront of our mines.  Fourth, the Holy Spirit uses other people to help guide and direct us.  We have other people in our lives who advise us, exhort us, and encourage us to do certain things.

God is sovereign.  He is in control of all things.  His providential hand guides us and leads us in the way He wants us to go.  “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord established his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  

O Holy Spirit, my sacred Guide and Helper, I know that you direct my steps.  You speak to me through Your Word and in times of prayer and meditation.  Your providential hand guides me into new circumstances and opportunities every day.  You bring thoughts to my mind and You put other people in my life to be Your instruments of guidance and encouragement.  Let me be sensitive to Your promptings and leadings this day.

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