As Paul begins to share his personal experience of coming to faith in Jesus, he makes it clear that before consulting with anyone he spent some serious time alone with God. I believe that’s what he means in Galatians 1:16-17 paul & moses18. He writes that when God “…was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.”

First of all it’s important to notice that God’s supernatural intercession in Paul’s life had a significance to him beyond the event itself. He knew it meant something. As he separated himself from the world and seems to have drawn near to God it became apparent to Paul that God had called him to salvation for a purpose. As one commentary puts it, “Life is not just an eddy of a purposeless stream; it is a part of God’s mainstream. …God had a plan for Paul—as He does for every person, for you, for me. Paul saw the intervention of God in his life not as an unpremeditated happening but as a part of the eternal plan of God.”

Paul stresses the fact that he did not go to Jerusalem to consult with the other Apostles. Instead he went to Totally Gentile areas. Arabia, Damascus, followed later by regions of Syria and Cilicia. This was in keeping with his call to the gentiles. It seems that the other Apostles had not left Jerusalem at that time because that’s where Paul had to go to meet with them later. If this is so, it makes me think that they weren’t as focused on the Great Commission that Jesus gave them as He would have liked. He told them to make disciples “of all nations” yet they remained in Jerusalem. Most commentators agree that Paul spent time in Arabia, a barren, thinly populated place, in order to commune with God and clarify his life’s mission. God took Moses into the Midian wilderness and God took Paul into the Arabian wilderness (These places may be the same). Moses’ calling to lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt became clear to him. Paul’s calling to lead God’s people out of religious slavery became clear to him as well. Thus began Paul’s lifelong struggle with legalism! He went back to Damascus as we read and then Acts 9:22-25 tells us that “…the Jews plotted to kill him…And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.”