the Lord's timing
On his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40-18:22), the Apostle Paul purposed to go into Asia (i.e. western Turkey) after revisiting the cities and churches of Galatia. Such was a noble endeavor, but he was "forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia" (Acts 16:6). From there, his team ventured in obedience west into Europe, heeding the Macedonian Call.
Some years later, on his third missionary journey, Paul again passed through Galatia. This time, however, he "having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus" (Acts 19:1) and "this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwell in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 19:10).
The Apostle wasn't forbidden because his intent or his desire was wrong; the timing just wasn't right. The Lord had something in store first to better prepare him for such a work. That something started with a Philippian jail, included uproars in Thessalonica and Athens, and "much people" prepared by the Lord to receive the truth in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11). And along that way, he met and connected with such friends that would later prove invaluable in their service to him and to the Lord.
Believer, pursue your desire in the Lord, and as He directs otherwise for a time, know that His timing is far more precise and productive than yours. I tried to go to Nepal once, the Lord forbade me. I failed to heed, and my initial journey proved a disaster. It was seven long years before my wife and I could return. And when we did, it became suddenly apparent that the Lord had always purposed for us to labor there, only in His timing. And you better believe that in those seven years of ministry famine, He better prepared us for the work. Had I heeded his prohibition initially, that preparation would have undoubtedly been far less painful.
Israel also learned God’s lesson the hard way. Jehovah always intended for them to have a king. After all, the prophesied Messiah of Israel would one day be the eternal King of Israel (Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24:17). God told Abraham “kings shall come out of thee” (Genesis 17:6). And to the generation who would enter the promised land, Moses instructed by the word of the Lord:
When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15).
But alas, when the people of Israel went to Samuel demanding a king, they rejected God’s timing. And to reject His timing is to reject him: “for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (I Samuel 8:7). The rule of King Saul proved a disaster, and the consequences of that rule continued for many decades.
Friend, the Lord will give you the desires of your heart, but you have to delight in Him first (Psalm 37:4). You must also rest and wait patiently in His timing (Psalm 37:7). And unlike me and the people of Israel, you need not learn these things the hard way.
Your prayers are much appreciated as Eric and I seek the Lord’s timing to go to Israel (his first time). It is our desire to make house calls upon some of those we met on the trails in South Asia and South America last year. There is tension right now in Gaza and the Golan Heights, and Israel has been forced to defend itself by launching strikes against Iranian targets in Syria. It’s a tender box that could explode at any moment. This does not dissuade us, and such times make for cheap roundtrip airfare :) Pray that the Lord will make provision and bring this to pass in the next month or so.
Also, Team Yeshua is a go for 2019, this time in Huaraz, Peru; and we are in need of volunteers who are willing to give up a summer for service to the Lord, reaching both Jew and Gentile with the Gospel. If you know of any spiritually-grounded and mature young people (roughly 18-25 years old) who might be interested in a REAL SUMMER MISSIONS TRIP, please have them contact us as soon as possible. We need the help, and it will be a true blessing. Required term of service will be June 8 - August 18.
Kyle from South Dakota was part of Team Yeshua Peru back in 2017. This is what he had to say:
I have been on three overseas mission trips with FPGM and each one has greatly boosted my walk with the Lord and my zeal for His work. The most recent was Huaraz, Peru with Team Yeshua 2017. Our primary mission was to seek out Jewish travelers, share the message of the Gospel with them, and get a copy of God’s Word in their hands. I noticed, however, that as we would seek the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, God would place Gentiles into our paths and open huge doors to proclaim the Gospel to them as well! In the mornings, we would build each other up through devotion time in the Scriptures, then shortly after, we would take what we learned and put it to practice, being “doers of the Word, not hearers only.” This truly is the best way to learn and grow to KNOW His Word. The two months we spent in Peru flew by quickly, but it was an awesome experience. There’s nothing better than proclaiming the Gospel to Jew and Gentile while in the midst of the Lord’s breathtaking handiwork. Bring your cameras!
I will be heading to Peru in a couple of weeks. It will be a short journey involving preparation work for the summer. Then, Lord willing, a door will open for Eric and I to go to Israel. Again, your prayers and support are much appreciated.
It’s somewhat funny, but when I insisted upon packing up and moving to Nepal with Jamie back in 1999, refusing to submit to the Lord’s timing, reaching Israeli backpackers with the Gospel was the farthest thing from my mind. Yet, the first two people I ever shared the Gospel with over there were two backpackers from Israel who had just finished their conscripted service in the IDF. It was enroute to the Annapurna Sanctuary, and I was alone. Also, I find it strange that Jamie and I had a big old Israel flag on our wall in that Kathmandu apartment. It made for some interesting conversations when the Nepalis dropped by. We were so naive and knew so little about what the Lord had in store. Like Job, “have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not . . . wherefore I abhor myself, and repent” (Job 42:3,6)
As you walk with the Lord, seek out and trust His timing!
Jesse Boyd, Colporter