Galatians 1:16-18a – “to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter…”
Paul had had a major ‘experience’ where he met Jesus in a radical way (Acts 9). Instead of immediately going to be ‘discipled’ (pun intended) by the disciples/apostles, he instead goes to the Arabian desert, by himself, for three years! He gets discipled by the Holy Spirit for those years and then, when he sees Peter and spends 15 days with him… from then on is viewed ‘on the same level’ as Peter and the other apostles. Think about that: Peter had spent roughly three years being disciple by JESUS… Paul spent three years being discipled by the HOLY SPIRIT. Pretty cool.
Paul was living out Jeremiah 31:34, which declares: “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more“. At times God wants us to learn from others, but I wonder if sometimes we’d be better off getting alone for a while… and simply praying, meditating on His Word, and letting His Holy Spirit disciple us? I know this can also be dangerous too, and that surrounding ourselves with others is also beneficial (maybe this is why we’re told that Paul hung out with Peter for 15 days?), but remember Isaiah 40:31 that admonishes us: “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.“?
The word ‘wait‘ is also used in Lamentations 3:25-26 – “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord“. It is the Hebrew word “quavah“, which means “to bind together as by twisting“.
May you and I be those that carve out time to be discipled by the Holy Spirit. I pray that we’re reminded of how important time spent with the Master truly is. When I spend time alone with the Spirit, waiting on Him, I find that my life gets more and more ‘twisted together’ with His. We need this desperately.