January 2020 Beacon
“…he said, ‘Listen to my words: When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.’” (Numbers 12:6)
Near the end of the Book of Acts, we find the Apostle Paul before King Agrippa. At this time, Paul is literally battling for his life. Many in the Jewish community wanted him dead. Festus was a member of the Roman nobility and had a brief tenure as governor, but he found that Paul had done nothing deserving of death. His plan was to send Paul to Rome, but he wanted King Agrippa and others to hear from Paul first. Maybe they could come up with some charges that Festus could pass along to the officials in Rome.
King Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak for himself, and Paul recounted how he was raised and how he, at one time, had been very opposed to Jesus of Nazareth and His followers. But Paul also told of his “Damascus Road” conversion. Read Acts chapter 9 again (or maybe for the first time!). It is an amazing account of how Jesus, the very One whom Paul was persecuting, intervened in his life and gave him a new direction to follow.
Paul told King Agrippa about his experience with Jesus. And then he continued with, “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.” (Acts 26:19-21)
Paul had received a vision from heaven. He was directed by Jesus and he followed the Lord’s leading. (“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.”) That’s pretty good – to be able to receive a message from the Lord, understand it, and then be obedient to it! Maybe you think that it is great for believers to have an example like this. It can be encouraging, and also challenging.
Do you think that something like what happened to Paul is only for a person like Paul? Could someone living today also receive direction from God about their life? How could that happen?
The Bible tells us about some people who hear from the Lord in dreams or visions. Could that happen today? Could we also hear from our Lord through His Word, or by the leading of the Holy Spirit, or from time spent in prayer with Him? I believe that God can get His message to us anyway He wants to. I also think that we Christians should do what we can to put ourselves in a position to hear from Him.
Do you have 20-20 vision? If so, you should be thankful that you have good eyesight. Maybe you have never even needed glasses. But will you have another kind of good vision in the year 2020? God is still at work, and He wants His people to be about the business of making disciples. Will you do what you can to put yourself in a position to hear from Him? Ask Him what His “2020 Vision” is for you…then, like Paul, obediently carry it out.