Let’s pick up our study in Galatians 1:16b-17 where it says that after Paul’s conversion to Christ that he “…did not immediately consult with flesh and blood nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.” The first thing that I want us to notice is that God called Paul and not man. Paul didn’t have to go up to Jerusalem and ask the most eminent apostles (Peter, John, James, etc…) what they thought. He “knew that he knew” that he was indeed called by God to the ministry. I’ve met many a man over the years that simply did not feel comfortable in their “calling”. They waffled back and forth unsure as to “who” had called them into ministry. I had an old preacher tell me one time, “If you can do anything else but preach; do us all a favor and do it!” We must make sure that we are doing what God called us to and not what we or man wants us to do. In the end, God will only bless it if He ordained it.
The second thing that I want us to notice is that Paul “went away to Arabia” after his calling. What was that about? Maybe Paul just needed some “alone time” with God. After all, he had been killing the very ones that he was confessing to now be a part of! I’m sure that he had to get a few things settled. Sometimes I wish that I could disappear into the desert for a while myself!
We are not sure how long Paul was in the desert, but we do know that from the time of his conversion until the time he arrived in Jerusalem to visit with the other apostles was three years. That’s a lot time alone with God!
This is a recurring theme in the Bible. God takes those whom He wants to use into the desert. I.e. Moses before he led the people out of Egypt (Exodus 3:1-6). Elijah before he had to confront wicked Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). Finally, Jesus to prepare him for the cross that he was about to face (Matthew 4:1-11). Are you in the desert? What is God preparing you for? We must learn to look at desert places as preparation places.