“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”(KJV)
Saul who was later known by his Roman name, ‘Paul’ and Barnabas were literally appointed, on the spot, by the Holy Ghost as they ministered to the Lord and fasted during a week day worship service (because they did not fast on the Sabbath). There is something to be said about’ ministering to the Lord‘ that prepares our hearts to hear clearly from the Lord.
It wasn’t that Saul (the Apostle Paul) and Barnabas had not already been called of God to preach His gospel. They were called. It was that the timing for the special evangelistic ministry that they would undertake was to be given by the Holy Ghost. Just as we have to wait for the Lord’s timing before we undertake a work for God. Our hearts must be prepared and opened to hear the word of the Lord specifically to us.
How Is This Done?
We must follow the text; as they were ministering to the Lord, and fasting the Holy Ghost spoke. To be prepared for the work of God one must be ministering to the Lord, which basically means to carry out his work, and to worship and praise Him in the beauty of holiness. Just like in the Old Testament as the Priests ministered before God (Exodus 28:35, Hebrews 10:11 and 12) by carrying out the sacred duties appointed to them, so must we be in that state before we can launch out into special service for God.
Furthermore, they were worshiping and praising God as another way of ministering to God. Yes, God is all powerful and has no need for anything, and yet He has appointed a way for us to fellowship and love Him and it is through the sacrifice of Praise and Worship. In this way we empty ourselves before God and express the gratitude and love that we have for Him. It is exalting the Lord before us. And when the praises go up, the blessings come down!
PRAISE GOD, AND BLESS HIS NAME FOREVER!
Finally, we see that they were also fasting, which is to abstain mainly from food and drink or to abstain from certain foods and certain drinks for a particular period time. It was a way of bringing the body under subjection, it’s way of humbling oneself, and a way of cleansing oneself of impurities.
It was important to the early church that this be apart of their way of seeking God. However, we find in Isaiah 58, that the most acceptable fasts to God are spending time helping the helpless, the poor, the widows, relieving the abused and misused. This is the fast that God accepts more than any other. And this was one of the ways that the early church fasted and ministered before God.
While they were preparing their hearts for God to speak to them and through them, He did. As they were going about ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost spoke to them because the atmosphere was right and their hearts were ready to hear and to do the important work of the gospel. And we must in a similar way prepare ourselves to BE LEAD BY THE HOLY GHOST. Only then can we can out the special work to which we were called. A-men