12/30/W – Compelled by the Holy Spirit

2 Kings 19:5-37; Acts 21:7-17; Psalms 150:1-5; Proverbs 31:10-24

NT: “After we had been there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, both we and the local people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Since he would not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭21:10-14‬ ‭CSB)

Paul said earlier in chapter 20, that he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem. The Greek word translated in this version as ‘compelled’ is translated in other versions as ‘bound’. The Holy Spirit was telling him that he needed to go to Jerusalem, and he was constrained by faith and obedience to do nothing else – no matter what others said, nor the amount of warning he received. When Paul and his party reached Caesarea, they stayed a few days with Phillip. While they were there, Agabus came and prophesied what would come. Paul’s binding obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit would result in him being physically bound and handed over for prosecution. No one desires to go through challenges. No one enjoys being constrained and forced to do things or go places against their will. Paul’s companions meant well when they tried to persuade him from finishing his journey. But Paul knew what he must do, and deep down, his friends knew what he needed to do as well… so Paul and his companions laid down their will and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” It is tough when the Lord leads us to do something we don’t want to do. It’s even harder when people around you encourage your comfort more than your obedience. That’s where faith makes all the difference. Paul believed that God’s way is the best way. He knew that even though the way chosen for him would be uncomfortable, that way would bring about the most good in Him… and it would bring the most good through Him to others. Do we trust the Lord that way?  Are we willing to be compelled by the Holy Spirit?

Psalms: “Hallelujah! Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty expanse. Praise him for his powerful acts; praise him for his abundant greatness. Praise him with the blast of a ram’s horn; praise him with harp and lyre. Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and flute. Praise him with resounding cymbals; praise him with clashing cymbals.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭150:1-5‬ ‭CSB)

One of the things the Holy Spirit compels us to do is praise. One of the marks of a Spirit-filled life is a praise-filled life. The book of Psalms is a very real book, filled with real human emotion. Throughout the psalms, there are jubilant celebrations and deep sadnesses… there are psalms of trust and psalms of frustration and anger… there are psalms of victory and psalms of defeat. But the psalm that was chosen to close out the book is a psalm of jubilant praise to God. The word used throughout this psalm for praise is the Hebrew word ‘halal’. Halal is a fanatic celebration. Imagine the scene at a football game when the home team scores a goal: the entire stadium erupts in fanatical celebration over a few points on a score board. Psalm 150 calls us to the same and greater level of praise – not for points – but for Gods’ powerful acts and abundant greatness. If we allow ourselves to be compelled by the Holy Spirit into living our lives according to God’s word, will, and ways – though the way may be difficult and laced with sadness and frustration – through it all and at the end of it all, we will experience first hand, God’s powerful acts and abundant greatness… and we will be compelled to praise.

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