Why Can’t Paul Preach In Asia?

Daily Scripture readings for July, set #3:

– Exodus, chapters 7-9
– Psalm, chapter 26
– Matthew 11:20-30
– Acts 16:16-40

In Romans 9, the apostle Paul quotes Exodus 9: “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'” (Rom 9:17). I’m familiar with this verse and the fact that it’s a quote from Exodus, but just now I noticed the preceding verse in Exodus that gives some helpful context. Exodus 9:16 is the Romans quote, but in Exodus 9:15 the Lord says this to Pharaoh: “For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.” Basically, God is telling Pharaoh that he could have easily just killed him, but has kept him alive instead as an example to the whole world.

Psalm 26, like Psalm 23, references the “House of the Lord.” This time, David is telling of how he loves this house: “Oh Lord, I love the habitation of your house, and the place where your glory dwells” (vs 8). Is it implied here that the “habitation of your house” and “the place where your glory dwells” are the same?

Matthew 11:25-27 are very direct verses regarding God’s revelations and their particular/specific recipients. “At that time Jesus declared, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” It’s interesting to me that Jesus follows this declaration with an open invitation for ALL to come to him (verses 28-30). Do these two sections qualify each other? Are they intended to create the paradox that they seem to create?

Acts 16 has a few items worth commenting on. First, Paul is clearly PREVENTED by God from going to preach the Gospel in Asia and in a couple other areas. What can be made of this? It is evident from the text that God intended for Paul to preach in Macedonia, but what of all the people in the places that the Holy Spirit stopped him from going to? Did those generations and people groups ever have a chance to hear the Gospel? Secondly, I’m not sure what to make of the plural possessive pronoun “we” that appears in verse 10. I don’t remember it being used elsewhere in the book. The Book of Acts is attributed to Luke, so is he along with Paul and Silas on their missionary journey here? Lastly, verse 14 says this: “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” It is very clearly stated why this woman was paying attention to Paul: the Lord had opened her heart. Cross-index that with today’s reading in Matthew 11:27.

Update: So… I got a little mixed up in my Acts readings and notes, and it seems I posted notes here for the first half of chapter 16, instead of the second half, which I posted in the reading set #4 notes. Not sure how I got confused there.  Woops.

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