Re: Why did Paul go to Arabia?
Hi Mark. My personal opinion is he was doing what most men of God end up doing... Spending time in a desert. A desert is a place where our needs are not met and God has to come through for us. IMO, it can be read figuratively for the believer today. But we see this kind of experience in many great men of God.
For instance, Joseph had a word from God and the next thing he knows, he's spending 17 years as a slave or in jail. A desert experience.
David was anointed king, then spent time living in caves running from Saul. A desert experience.
John the Baptist, spent 30 years in the desert preparing for a 6 month ministry.
Moses spent 40 years in the desert before he was ready to help Israel.
Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before his ministry started.
The pattern is that God takes a man through severe trials in a desert like experience in order to mold and strengthen a man so that his eventual ministry can be done in power, authority, strength and grace.
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by varioustrials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
During these trials, we gain a revelation of who God is and often who we are. And when these things occur, we become more and more dependent upon the Lord for His grace and mercy. Thus, completely dependent upon Him, we are better instruments for His ministry.
1 Peter 2:21-24
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
IMO, it was only after walking with God in the desert, getting revelation of Jesus, that Paul was able to then go and minister in power, and to endure the great persecution he endured. Look at Jesus ministry...
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.
He went into the desert full of the Holy Spirit.
13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. 14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
But he came out in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Too often I think we can try to short circuit God's training grounds... the deserts of life.
Grace and peace,
"May the Lamb that was slain receive the just reward for His sufferings." A quote by Moravian missionary that sold himself (along with a friend) into slavery to reach those that the slave owner prevented from hearing the gospel.
May I live for Him and not for me.