Discerning the Will of God
Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.
Acts of the Apostles 13:1-3 NLT
This Scripture reveals some interesting observations about the church in Antioch. We discover that there were prophets and teachers in the church. These prophets and teachers were a diverse group—Simeon was identified as “the black man,” indicating he had possibly come to Syria from Africa. Lucius was also from Cyrene, Africa.
The Holy Spirit never limited leadership in the church to only a select group of identical people. God works through diversity.
The second observation is that the church body seemed to work together to discern the will of God. The language indicates it was not just these five men fasting and praying, but the entire group of believers was committed to prayer and fasting.
Through a person in the group, the Holy Spirit spoke to select Barnabas and Saul for a special task. After the word was given, the group prayed and fasted again. I believe the second time of prayer and fasting was to test and see if the word given was from God. Every word should be tested so there is unity among believers that it is God’s word for the body of believers. Nothing should be taken simply by one person who claims divine revelation.
After the second time of prayer and fasting, the entire body of believers laid hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them out. The work of the kingdom is always done through the people in the body who sense they are being sent out to build the kingdom of God.
Holy Spirit, I want to be able to hear Your voice clearly and know Your direction. I want to be used to advance Your kingdom in my world.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.