The Macedonian Vision and God’s Will: Acts 16: 9-10 (Part 1)
Scripture: Acts 16:9-10
By Bob DeWaay
As we discuss the unique guidance that happens in parts of Acts, as with the Macedonian vision, we discuss God’s will according to Biblical categories. Christians want to be found in God’s will and often wonder if they are. We also wonder if dreams like the one that led Paul to travel to Macedonia should be expected to guide us. To facilitate learning biblical categories, we begin by understanding the passage about this vision in context. The apostles discussed what happened in the dream and concluded that they should go there and preach. They were previously restrained from going to Bithynia (vss 6-8). They knew God’s revealed will which was the call to preach Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Now they are working out that process. The man in Paul’s vision was crying out for help and they concluded that they should go there. We then discuss Ephesians 5:17b which calls us to understand what the will of the Lord is. It is important that we comprehend God’s will with our minds. We discuss mystical approaches to finding God’s will such as taught in some books and conclude that here Paul is not teaching us to gain undefined subjective impressions. This “will” is not God’s secret counsel, but His revealed will. Deuteronomy 29:29 lays out the basic categories concerning what is and is not revealed. The “secret things” belong to God and are not revealed. Many believe that there is some special, perfect will of God that has to be discovered for a Christian to be successful. We dispute that idea and lay out the category of God’s revealed will, which is His binding moral law, and that which is not revealed. The word “secret” is where we get our word “occult.” We are not to pry into secret things that belong only to God. We will continue this discussion in the next session.