While it rarely feels good to be told, “No,” the word is definitely part of the Holy Spirit’s vocabulary. It is one of the many ways He helps His followers. It is something we should be thankful to experience. In this text we learn of a critical time when the Spirit restricted and redirected a group of Christians.
Where were Paul and his companions traveling (6)? What kept them out of Asia and Bithynia (6-7)? Where did they go instead (8)? Describe Paul’s vision (9). How did Paul and his team respond to it (10)? Do you think there are distinctions between the “Holy Spirit” in verse 6 and the “Spirit of Jesus” in verse 7? Why or why not?
Obtain a map of Paul’s missionary journeys and trace the route described in this text. How might world history, current events, the ministry of Jesus Christ, and your personal relationship with God look differently if the Holy Spirit called Paul and his companions to travel eastward instead of westward? What does this say about the Holy Spirit’s role in directing the course of humanity?
In what ways do you acknowledge the Holy Spirit as the occasional source of obstacles in your life? How can you sharpen your discernment in this area? What do you typically do when you face opposition? Are there any healthy behaviors for dealing with the unexpected that the Lord asking you to adopt? If so, what are they? When the Holy Spirit gives you a vision, do you respond with the same sense of urgency that Paul and his companions demonstrate in this text? Why or why not?