Paul Continues His Life Story
Once again, Paul is stressing, to begin with, his identity with his audience. When he reached Damascus, the man
who instructed him was Ananias, a devotee of the Law whom the Jews knew to be a good man. Paul is stressing the fact that he had not come to destroy the ancestral faith but to fulfill it. Here we have one of Luke's telescoped narratives. When we read along with this Acts 9 and Galatians 1, we will find that it was really three years afterward that Paul went up to Jerusalem after his visit to Arabia and his witnessing in Damascus.
In Acts 9, we were told that he left Jerusalem because he was in danger of his life from the enraged Jews; here we are told he left because of a vision. There is no real contradiction; it is the same story told from different points of view. The point Paul makes is that he did not want to leave the Jews. When God told him to do so, Paul argued. He said that his previous record would be bound to make his change all the more impressive to the Jews, but God said that the Jews would never listen to him, and to the Gentiles, he must go.
There is a certain wistfulness here. As with his Master, Paul's own would not receive him (John 1:11). He is literally saying, "I had a priceless gift for you, but you would not take it, so it was offered to the Gentiles."
Verse 14 is a summary not only of the life of Paul but also of the Christian life.
There are three items in it:
(1st) to know the will of God. It is the first aim of the Christian to know God's will and to obey it.
(2nd) to see the Just One. It is the aim of the Christian daily to walk in the presence of the Risen Lord.
(3rd) to hear God's voice. It was said of a great preacher that in his preaching he paused ever and again as if listening for a voice. The Christian is ever listening for the voice of God above the voices of the world to tell him where to go and what to do.
Life Application: Have you ever listened for the voice of God? Do you ever listen for the voice of God when you have an important decision to make? He is forever ready to speak the word of wisdom or direction to anyone who asks.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, what a wonderful friend and counselor You have been to me. From the time I was a boy, my parents had me in the church where I learned to trust You to guide my daily life. That was many years ago, but I am so thankful that I learned early on to look to You to be my daily guide. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness. Amen!