Calculated: “carefully thought out or planned; to make suitable or fit for a purpose.”
They are busy, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke. And wherever they go, they are preaching the message, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And as they go, they bring God’s encouragement to save and strengthen.
Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe. 5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily, (16:4-5).
And it seems as everything is going according to plan, following their course of action, until…
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; (16:6-7).
As I read these words, the story came screeching to a halt. What? They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word? They were trying to bring the message into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them? I confess, I don’t exactly get it.
The message of the gospel would ultimately be spoken, heard and received in the province of Asia,…so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks, (Acts 19:10). And churches were established, as Asia is the location of the seven churches Jesus addressed through the apostle John’s Revelation (Revelation 1 through 3).
But it was not at this time that Asia would hear, and as I continued reading in Acts 16, I saw His Call, carefully thought out and planned, made suitable by Him to fit His purpose, Calculated by Him alone, perfect in His forethought and wisdom.
Consider His Calculated Call
His Calculated Call Directs according to His Perfect Plan:
Paul and his companions conclude and suppose God is directing their way.
A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them, (16:9 emphasis added).
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled, (16:13 emphasis added).
And I can’t help but wonder, did Paul and Silas also conclude they were supposed to be beaten and thrown into prison?
The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; (16:22-23).
But there was this jailer… and His Calculated Call placed His messengers exactly where they needed to be… according to His Perfect Plan.
His Calculated Call Guides into His Perfect Place:
The jailer, it seems, is also engaged in some supposing of his own.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped, (16:25-27 emphasis added).
And not having any idea that God had a Perfect Plan for him and his entire household, the jailer supposes he is without any hope, ready to take his own life.
But the miraculous happens and His Calculated Call guides this Philippian jailer into His Perfect Place; the place to realize his need for salvation.
And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (16:29-30).
His Calculated Call Accomplishes His Perfect Purpose.
And in that Perfect Place, His Perfect Purpose for the Philippian jailer, obscure and unknown to the world, yet significant and known to God, is accomplished.
They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household, (16:31-33).
How do we respond to His Calculated Call?
We can often question God’s pace and plans, especially when they don’t match up with our own. But we must not only remember, we must also depend completely upon His Calculated Call in every area of our lives.
His Direction and Guidance to Accomplish His Perfect Will is always “carefully thought out and planned; and is always suitable for His purpose.”
- When we don’t understand and we can’t see the future, may we daily depend upon His Calculated Call to Direct us according to His Perfect Plan.
- “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- When we feel as if we are drowning in our troubles, may we daily depend upon His Calculated Call to Guide us into His Perfect Place.
- He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (Psalm 18:16-19).
- He sent from on high, He took me;
- When evil seems to overshadow hope, may we depend upon His Calculated Call to Accomplish His Perfect Purpose.
- And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, (Romans 8:28).
Though we often miscalculate His ultimate pace and plans, we can be certain as His children of the faith, He has purposed to grow us in our resemblance of His Son.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified, (Romans 8:29-30).
And one day, His Calculated Call will Direct, Guide and Accomplish His Perfect Plan, in His Perfect Place for His Perfect Purpose… and we will be like Him!
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is, (1 John 3:2).