February 18: discerning (Numbers 3-4; Acts 25)

“I appeal to Caesar!” We have read several chapters where Paul is brought before one official after another. His fate is uncertain. The charges against him are unclear. Back to prison he goes. For two years, he waits. We are not told what Paul is doing while he waits, but surely he is praying.

Paul is living what he feels God called him to do and that will take him to Rome (I must visit Rome – Acts 19:21). In a special vision, Paul is promised by Jesus that he will get to Rome (“Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11). We are learning something about God’s purposes and prayer.

Sometimes when we pray and wait for God to act, part of the answer is that God will act, but God will do so through our taking proper responsibility in the matter at hand. It can be hard to know what is the right answer. Is it that God will fight for me or is it “take courage” and it is time for me to act? Discovering which applies in which instance is the discernment that all Christians must do.

After two years in prison – waiting, praying, discerning – Paul takes action. “I appeal to Caesar!”

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