Focal Passage: Acts 16:6-15
Traffic lights can be annoying. I’d rather they stay green
all the time, at least for me.
But that’s not possible, is it? Sometimes they are red, and
sometimes the color is yellow, saying to proceed cautiously.
I haven’t decided which I like least, the red or the yellow.
How about you?
The traffic light is, however, essential for safe travel
through urban areas, and it also can serve as a metaphor for our prayer life
and how we obey or disobey God.
The setting for chapter 16 is Paul’s second missionary
This was a season for change in Paul’s life. His first
journey was with Barnabas; his second and third would be with Silas.
Furthermore, his missionary team would grow.
The relationship cultivated with Timothy and his family on
the first journey into Lystra would lead to Timothy joining Paul’s team (16:3).
Later (at Troas) we will see that doctor Luke also
becomes a valued member of this missionary enterprise (note 16:10 where the “they” references become
By all appearances, God was giving them the green light. But
then things would change. At Mysia they seemed to hit a
They wanted to go to the upper regions of north Galatia
but God said “no.”
They would have been willing to go into the area around Ephesus,
but God would say “later.”
Instead God sent them to Troas, one
of the last stops available before entering what we know today as Europe.
The new mission, as directed by the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus) was the province
of Macedonia, and the city of Philippi.
Philippi was an interesting city;
heavily Roman and not so much Jewish. In fact, in order to find some “believers
in God,” they had to go to the banks of the Gangites
There, on that particular Sabbath, they found a group of
women who wanted to hear Paul’s message about Jesus Christ.
The lay leader of this fellowship was a woman from Thyatira,
who went by the name Lydia.
She was a woman of affluence and influence. She was a leader.
She was most generous and hospitable.
And, she would become a Christian. Historians refer to her
as the “first Christian convert in Europe.”
She would be a game-changer.
Not only would she provide for the needs of Paul and his team, but she
would be of significant influence to the spread of Christianity.
Red light, yellow light, green light; no, slow (wait or later),
go — whether we like it or not, that’s the voice of God.