Paul, encourage, becomes an encourager, Acts 20

27 May

Why does Paul journey? How does he journey?

David, in Psalm 57, (4-8) sings of Paul’s journey, he sings of his, David’s own entombment in a cave pursued by Saul, … he sings

‘I am in the midst of lions
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!’

And David closes verse 8 with ‘ I will awaken the dawn.’

David’s night in a cave, in darkness, without physical companions, sings to his own soul and spirit. He encourages himself with the only companions he raced to a shelter with: his musical instruments- his harp, his lure. His words. His songs. Paul, in David’s footsteps, has people as his lyres and harps, his choir….

from Acts 20, the magnificent 7

after the uproar, Paul decides to continue on his journeys. What is his purpose?

verse 2 tells of his …. “speaking many words of encouragement”

Acts 20 speaks of Paul

‘When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas….’

Paul has seven men with him.

“He was accompanied by Sopater ..,Aristarchus and Secundus … Gaius, …Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus …’

Saul, who becomes Paul after Barnabas’ encouragements, is now the encourager. Changed, he speaks; he is followed; he is ‘accompanied’.

Paul, in need of companions, is blessed by these 7 men. In need of campions, he both accompanies and is a ‘companied.’

Encouraged by Barnabas, Paul begins to encourage. This is his journey; this is ours.

Encourage another now; today. Encourage.

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