“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” (Acts 16:6-7)
Some would say that to not preach the Gospel somewhere would just be downright absurd. They’ll use such passages as 2 Peter 3:9 or Titus 2:11:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” (Titus 2:11)
But they especially quote Romans 10:14:
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)
Though these passages are true in their context, we must remember that God’s Perfect and Sovereign Will is all that matters. When God has turned His Face against a city or a people because of pride and rebellion against truth; the man of God must follow suit, or reap the consequences. To ignore such instruction given by the Holy Ghost is spiritual suicide. It doesn’t matter how much our feelings may be involved or how sorry we feel for such places and people. God’s Will will prevail and our every step as Children of God must align with Him.
Israel in Old Testament history had forsaken the God of Israel:
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” (Isaiah 1:2)
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
Israel turned their back on God; and God turned His back on them. They were delivered over to judgment by the hand of the Lord. A prophet, a preacher, or a priest couldn’t stop God’s judgment. Israel became the grounds of a forbidden city.
In the text, God forbade Paul to preach the Gospel in Asia; and the Spirit “suffered them not” to go into Bithynia. We don’t know why, because the Scripture doesn’t say; but one thing is certain, such places we must stay away from. Such borders we must not cross, lest we get caught in a snare from which we can’t escape. When people refuse to repent from the errors of their ways, and their minds are bent on destruction, all we can do is pray for God’s mercy on such people that their eyes may be opened.
In Matthew 11:20-24, the Lord gave some “Woes” against some of the cities where He had done mighty works. Verse 20 says, “…they repented not.” Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, fell under the “woes” of the Lord Jesus. Of such cities, our Lord tells us to shake their dust off our feet (Luke 10:11).
This devotion may be difficult for us to wrap our minds around, but we must understand for our own welfare, some places and some people are forbidden.
When God has removed His Glory from a land and from a people, you can rest assured His Judgment has begun.
But for us who are in fellowship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, we have hope. Jesus will deliver us from the filthy conversation of the wicked, and preserve us unto His Heavenly Kingdom.
To Him in His Judgment and His Mercy be Honor, Glory, and Dominion, both now and forever. AMEN.