Galatians Advent Study Day 2 - Galatians 1:11-24
Has God recently revealed something to you? Or maybe you feel like you are in a desert of sorts? This part of Galatians is for you!
In this battle for the hearts and minds of the Galatians, Paul is relentless. It is him versus all the false teachers that came behind him. It is critical they remember where the true Gospel they heard and believed came from; that they don’t look at it as just Paul’s word versus another man’s word. It is God’s Word.
Paul reminds them it was not preached by God. It was not received by man. It was not something he was taught. It came directly from Jesus (Acts 9:1-19).
What Paul tells us about his actions after receiving the revelation from Jesus is not to be overlooked. He did not immediately consult with anyone or go to Jerusalem to confer with the other apostles.
Instead, he went away. Alone. To the desert in Arabia. For three years.
Paul’s world was rocked. Everything he thought was true was turned upside down.
Paul knew all of the Jewish law, customs, Scriptures – most even by memory – but he didn’t know Jesus.
He wanted to learn from Jesus – the One the law pointed to; the One who fulfilled the law.
Paul needed time to process and reevaluate everything about this new revelation.
Why Arabia? The desert is a special time of preparation in the Bible. Moses was in the desert 40 years prior to being called by God to set the Israelites free from Egyptian slavery. It would prepare him to lead the Israelites through desert for 40 years before entering the promised land. The Israelites time in the desert taught them who God was and what it meant to follow and worship Him.
David spent much time in the desert prior to becoming King of Israel, hiding for his life, but also drawing near to God. Here he wrote many of the Psalms.
Jesus, upon being baptized, immediately went and prayed and fasted in the desert for 40 days, overcoming temptation from the devil himself. Preparation for His public ministry (Matthew 3:13-4:11)
Like the apostles in Jerusalem -- the ones who walked with Jesus three years and were specifically appointed by Him -- Paul needed quality time with Jesus.
So, Paul spends three years in the desert preparing for his calling.
Deuteronomy 8:2-6 gives some insight into what desert times teach us and prepare us for: They humble us (8:2), they reveal what is in our heart (8:2), they challenge us to keep His commands (8:2), they remind us that God alone provides all our needs (8:3-4), and they remind us to fear and obey Him (8:5-6).
Has God revealed something to you? As tempting as it is to run to another teacher or consult human advice, run to God first. Spend that quiet time in conversation with Him. Process it with God first. Paul eventually does consult with Peter and James, leaders of this new Christian movement after three years. Paul knows consultation with wise and Godly counsel is important. But FIRST, he is alone with God.
Has your world been rocked? Do you feel like you are going through a desert time? If so, as painful as it is, take hope and encouragement in knowing that God is preparing you in a special way for a calling. He wants to draw you near to Him to teach you something that can only be taught in the desert.
I’m praying now for all those in desert times; that instead of fighting and lamenting it, you are embracing it; that you are drawing nearer to God and being filled with His love and knowledge and power.