And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
After trying times, God often gives us a time of peace and encouragement if we keep our focus on Him. Take some moments and remember some of your own blessings after a storm. In OT times, saints would build a pile of rocks to remind them of God’s goodness and provision. If we did that, we would not have a yard. Write down your blessings so you can look back when you are discouraged and remind yourself that God is doing great things during your trial.
After the whole riot thing, Paul stayed around in Corinth for a while, which was different because he usually was ushered out of town quickly for safety reasons. When he left Corinth to travel to Ephesus across the sea, he took Priscilla and Aquila with him and somebody got a haircut (I have two notes here: One, Priscilla’s name is before Aquila’s in old manuscripts indicating her significance in the church. What exactly that means, nobody knows, but they agree it is because of her service in the early church. Her name is first in three other passages in the KJV. Praise the Lord that God allows Priscilla to be honored in the Bible for her ministry! Two: Scholars say that the early manuscripts are not clear as to which one shaved their head for a Nazarite vow, and some think it was both. When we think of a Nazarite vow, we usually think of Sampson, Samuel and John the Baptist who had lifetime Nazarite vows. The vow could also be a certain duration of time in which the man would vow to not shave his head, abstain from dead humans, and abstain from alcohol. At the end of the vow, the man’s head would be shaved at the door of the tabernacle and burnt at the alter along with sacrificial offerings. The vows were taken to show gratitude to God or to ask for an earnest request.)
The Jews at Ephesus were a blessing to Paul as they really wanted him to stay with them longer to teach them. Paul declined as his goal was to make it back to Jerusalem for the upcoming feast. We don’t know for sure which one it was, possibly the Passover. Whichever feast it was to be, I just know that the food was amazing because I gained 10lbs while I was in Israel, and that was with lots of walking everyday!
Paul crossed the sea again to get to Caesarea, then went to Jerusalem to say “hi” to the church and then traveled up to Antioch to spend more time there. After spending a while in Antioch, he circled around again to Galatia and Phrygia to encourage the churches and had a great time in ministry.
Sometimes we forget to thank the Lord for His goodness, especially after a storm. We might feel relieved or like things have settled down or that circumstances have finally worked out, that we forget to see God’s Almighty Hand working in all the fine details of our lives. Give God all of the glory! Whether He works through government (stimulus packages), or employers, or family or situations, He deserves all of the praise and glory. Thank you, Lord!
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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