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The Scriptorium

Warnings and Farewells

Paul arrives in Tyre. Acts 21.1-6

Paul’s Legacy (8)

Pray Psalm 26.8-12.
LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.
But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the LORD.

Sing Psalm 26.8-12.
(Aberystwyth: Jesus, Lover of My Soul)
Lord, I love Your dwelling-place, there where all Your glory shines.
Keep my soul before Your face, lest for sinful way it pine.
As for me, in righteousness, I shall walk on level ground.
Save me, Lord, renew and bless! Let me with Your Church be found!

Read and meditate on Acts 21.1-6.

Preparation
1. What did Paul find in Tyre?

2. What did the disciples tell him?

Meditation
Luke slows down the story now to let the drama build. He remarks each stop along the way (vv. 1-3), mentions the seven-day stay in Tyre (v. 4), and hints (the mention of Syria, v. 3) that home in Antioch was close, though it would not be gained at this time. He wants us to enter the uncertainty, sadness, and yet, the courage and conviction of the apostle Paul as he headed for what he was now certain would be a bad situation in Jerusalem.

The believers in Tyre urged Paul not to go there (v. 4), undoubtedly because, as with the elders in Ephesus, he had shared his heart concerning what he was expecting. We notice that their words were informed (Greek: “kept saying to”) by the Spirit of God. Not to deter Paul, however; quite the opposite.

Jesus had said that, as the Good Shepherd, He laid down His life for His sheep (Jn. 10.11). He expects the same of every shepherd appointed to watch over the flocks of the Lord. Sometimes this requires sacrifices – time, convenience, family, work, friendships. But for God’s flocks to rest secure in Him, His shepherds need to follow Paul as he followed Jesus (1 Cor. 11.1; cf. 2 Cor. 12.15).

The Kingdom of God expands on earth as it is in heaven, bringing righteousness, peace, and joy to all who enter and abide in it. However, it also provokes trials and tribulations because it can be an irritant to those who prefer to be their own gods rather than know, love, and serve Jesus Christ. We need to be prepared for this, but not deterred by it in our calling or witness.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
In Proverbs 11.14 we read: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” How do we reconcile this passage with Paul’s dismissal of all the warnings he received about not going to Jerusalem? Paul said, “…the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Acts 20.23). And Luke records that, “They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21.4).

There are times in our lives when we seek counsel from other believers about questions we are facing. Perhaps serious things about a job change, or a move to another city, or about a marriage proposal, or where to give a tithe, or how to navigate a health issue. The operative issue here is that because of uncertainty, we seek the counsel. And it is very often wise to do so.

But Paul was not seeking counsel from anyone about what he knew for certain the Lord had called him to do. Just like Jesus, Who assuredly knew what He was facing, “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Lk. 9.51). Jesus was to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah had foretold: “For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.” (Is. 50.7)

When we can say with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19.25-27), and with Paul: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12), when we also believe those things with our whole heart, then we will be able to set our faces like flint to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He leads us. Regardless of any appreciated, but unsolicited warning.

For reflection

1. The believers who tried to dissuade Paul did so out of love for him. But is the love others have for us to be heeded over the clear leading of the Lord? Explain.

2. How can you know for sure what the Lord is leading you to do on any given day (Ps. 90.12, 16, 17; Matt. 28.18-20; Matt. 6.33)?

3. We all need counselors in our life. Who counsels you about the Lord’s will for your walk with and work for Him? Have you thanked them recently? Have you thanked God for them?

Luke reckoneth up briefly the course of his sailing; and that not only to win credit to the history, that we may know what was done in every place, but that the readers may weigh with themselves the invincible and heroic fortitude which was in Paul, who would rather be tossed and troubled with such long, unlevel, and troublesome journeys, that he might serve Christ, than provide for his own quietness. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Acts 21.1-6

Pray Psalm 26.1-7.
Commit your day to the Lord. Focus on encouraging others in Him. Seek His help and Presence to resist temptation and abide in His Word. Pray for those you expect to see today.

Sing Psalm 26.1-7.
(Aberystwyth: Jesus, Lover of My Soul)
Vindicate me, Lord on high; I have walked within Your Word.
Never wav’ring, though I sigh, I have trusted You, O Lord!
Prove me, Lord, prove even me! Test my heart and try my mind.
Let Your steadfast mercy be in the path for me to find.

Men of falsehood shall not sit in my presence, nor will I
suffer any hypocrite to find favor in my eye.
All the wicked I abhor; ‘round Your altar let me stand,
loudly singing evermore of Your gracious, mighty hand.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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