Psalm 51, Isaiah 66:1–16, Acts 16:6–15
How the Holy Spirit moves in our lives is both a mystery and very important. The psalmist requests to be restored. Attributed to King David after being confronted in his sin regarding Bathsheba and Uriah, there is definitely some restoration that needs to happen.
While David as an individual was often not the shining example, at the same time he led the people of Israel to worship God fully. While we recognize David’s shortcomings and sins, we also have to recognize what he brought. Does that mean that what he did was okay? Obviously not. As we see in Psalm 51, David did repent.
On the other hand, but the time if Isaiah, the rulers, and the people were not fully worshipping God. God was just another god, one of many. Many followed the prescribed outward practices but did not have the heart that was yielded to God. Isaiah wasn’t the only prophet calling to account, either. Contrast this to David. Nathan had a very short speech, and David was contrite. David was humble, submissive in spirit, and trembled at God’s world (Isaiah 66:2).
David and the chided (by Isaiah) Israelites had very different responses to the Holy Spirit. Both had an experience of correction. David had additional experiences of support and direction.
Paul, by this time in Acts, had had a number of interesting experiences with the Holy Spirit, but this might be one of the most important as it applies to us. Paul wanted to go to Asia. That was the plan. God wouldn’t let them. Think about that for a moment. Many in the church (rightfully) talk about the loss of evangelism. Paul was told not to evangelize. Then he tries to go to Bithynia and is again stopped by the Holy Spirit. Stopped. Prevented. No evangelism here.
Then Paul received a dream from a (nameless) man to come to Macedonia. He does so and makes his way to Philippi. There he meets Lydia. She converts to Christianity and becomes a strong supporter of the church. Some have called her a deacon, and yet others claim that her role was more pastor or bishop. While who knows what could have happened in Asia or Bithynia, Lydia’s conversion along with the establishment of the church at Philippi is all pretty important.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit, as some say, knocks a person on the head with a 2×4. Other times the Holy Spirit nudges and encourages by whispers. Other times, the Holy Spirit closes the door. Being aware, being responsive, and being obedient to the Holy Spirit is what will shape and change us. Also, this is how we are transformed to be more like Jesus.
1) When you believe the Holy Spirit is telling you to stop, how do you test whether it is the Holy Spirit or your fear?
2) When you believe the Holy Spirit is telling you to go, how do you test whether it is the Holy Spirit or your desires?
3) When in the last week have you felt either go or stop from the Holy Spirit? If you haven’t, are you open to asking (and listening to) the Holy Spirit about what should be stopped or started?