We find Paul, in Acts 16, in the midst of his missionary journeys, sharing the gospel of Jesus throughout the Mediterranean world, establishing churches and training pastors and leaders.
Paul wanted to go to “Asia,” through what is now modern-day Turkey to spread the Word. However, he was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit.” As he prayed, God specifically said, “No.”
Verse 7 says “they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” Was it morally wrong for them to go to these places? No, but God had other plans for Paul and he was sensitive to those plans.
Paul had a “vision” from the Lord about a “man of Macedonia” that “pleaded” with him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Because Paul was seeking the Lord’s will, God revealed His will in this “vision” and Paul obeyed it immediately… concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Paul and his friends ended up in “Philippi… the foremost city” or capital city “of that part of Macedonia.” In Philippi, Paul went out “to the riverside” where Jewish people came to pray. Evidently, there was no synagogue there. He “spoke to the women who met there.”
An important woman named “Lydia” who was “a seller of purple” heard Paul speak. She had been seeking the Lord and we know she “worshiped God.” What if Paul had not been sensitive to the Holy Spirit? He would have missed this opportunity.