Okay, girls, here's what you asked for!
In our Bible Study on Thursday nights, we're slowly going through the women of the Word. And so far we've gone through Esther, Tamar, Leah, Rahab, Deborah, and many more!
Next up on our list of names is Lydia.
The seller of Purple.
Here are a few facts about Lydia before we dive into her story.
Lydia was the very first convert when Paul started his missionary journey out west! She might have been a widow. The Bible doesn't really state that she was married or if she isn't. But with the facts that we are given, we can assume that she is single.
She was the head of her household.
She ran her own business! She was a boss babe before it was even cool!
Grab your Bibles, we're going to be in Acts 16:14-15 mostly!
But first, I want to take some time to just pray for understanding of the scriptures. I believe that is so very important! Sometimes when I read, I get ahead of myself and don't listen to the Holy Spirit to discern the words for me. So, let's take a few minutes to pray.
Okay, so let's begin with the theme of this beautiful story.
Paul and Silas had just received the Macedonian call! For those of you who don't remember what this was, Paul had a vision after trying to travel his ministry east into Asia. But God gave Him a vision of a man calling for help in the county of Macedonia. Now, Macedonia was in the west of where Paul was heading.
This monumental move would be the western movement that changed history for all time.
Who else loves the story of the Pilgrims? Just me? Okay, cool.
The pilgrims actually went west because they were highly influenced by Paul's decision to go west. So they traveled across the Atlantic ocean to escape the jurisdiction of the church of England.
How cool is that??!!
Anyway, back to the early A.D.
Acts 16:12 talks about how Paul and Silas obeyed God and traveled to the west! They stopped in a town in Macedonia called, Philippi.
The city of Philippi was named after Alexander the Great's father. It was a Roman colony at the time and functioned as a military outpost. This made the city a commercial center in Macedonia. Its influence throughout the region made it a perfect place to start spreading the Gospel of Jesus!
Acts 16:13 talks about how after Paul and Silas had stayed in Philippi a couple of days, they explore the city some more on the Sabbath. Coming across a river, they discovered a group of women praying.
That part in verse 13, it talks about, "where prayer was customarily made." In the Jewish custom, congregations of several households would meet and pray together. If 10 male households could be found in the city, a synagogue would be built. If not, a place of prayer was established. And a group of women decided to make their "place of prayer" by a river outside of the city.
So, Paul and Silas began talking with these women and Lydia was there. Here is where we get to meet Lydia!
"-The Lord opened her heart-"
I believe that the Lord had already begun working on Lydia's soul long before Paul and Silas arrived. She had already become accustomed to Jewish beliefs, but because of her background in her hometown - Thyatira, which was located where Turkey is now, it's surprising that she would. More than likely, she would have become friends with the women of their prayer group after traveling to Philippi and start to know more about the Jewish culture.
"-To heed the things spoken"
She hungered, that's what the word "heed" translates to. Lydia hungered after the gospel.
When was the last time you hungered for God? How often do we get complacent and forgetful of the power of the gospel?
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. Psalms 42:1
I love this verse. Every time I read it, it reminds me of how peaceful God is and how amazing He is to provide love and comfort in streams of His word always. It's us who don't take advantage of coming to Him.
So, I want to discuss the symbolism in "purple" for a minute.
There are 48 verses of scripture that refer to "purple." Woooahh!
The color was made from marine snails. Legit, snails.
Purple was associated with the wealthy and rich, the royals, and with authority.
It was used in the curtains and clothing of the high priest in the tabernacle.
When Jesus was crucified, the Romans used a purple cloth to decorate Jesus and mock Him as King of the Jews.
Acts 16:15 tells us that Lydia and her entire household were baptized! She asked Paul and Silas to stay at her home during their stay! I can only imagine how amazing that would have been. To have all that wisdom and understanding of the gospel right there in your living room! I'm sure Lydia wanted to learn more and more, so having them stay at her house was a huge blessing.
Acts 16:40, Paul and Silas seek a place to stay at Lydia's house once more before moving along on their journey.
So here are some things that we can learn from Lydia.
Be reverent. She had a reverent heart and was humbled enough to offer Paul and Silas to stay at her home.
Be a good worker. She was blessed for her hard work. We don't know if Lydia actually just made the dye, or made the transactions with her purple cloth. But, either way, she had a good business and a good name because of it.
Be a prayer warrior. It amazed me that the women of the city met together and prayed, even though there weren't a lot of people in the city that believed like them. Sometimes the best prayer warriors are the ones who are not afraid to be different.
She was thriving, even though she was single. (maybe) I think seeing other women who are still single, and they are thriving in the Word, and growing in Christ motivate me so much! Let Lydia's faith and boldness be an inspiration that you don't need a man to do things for you.
Be kind and loving. We can see proof of this because she not only gets saved herself, but she feels that the gospel message is so important, her entire household needs to hear it too! Ang look at the result of that! She and her house get to be born-again believers!
So what did you learn from Lydia that you can take and use today, tomorrow, in the workplace, or in your quiet time?
I definitely learned a lot from her, and I hope you did too!
Thanks for reading!!