One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Here we read of a woman who was a worshiper of God, yet even so, according to the Bible she was lost and headed for hell. She was a worshiper of God like a lot of Jews at that time were. But she was still lost, and according to Romans 8:7-8, she was hostile to God and could not please God.
But look what happened at the end of that verse. The LORD opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. The normal condition of the heart of a lost man is closed to any understanding - because of Adam. Paul didn’t open her heart and she didn’t open her own heart, the Lord opened it. Without the Lord opening her heart it would have remained closed and she would NEVER have responded - which is exactly what happened countless times when Paul preached to the Jews everywhere - at Ephesus, Colosse, Galatia, Philippi... You name it. In fact there were some Jews who acted on their hatred of God’s Word being spoken by Paul by STONING him in Lystra (Acts 14:19). Like Lydia, these also were God worshipers, but ohhh did they hate Paul and his message. You should hear stories of what some Orthodox Jews are doing to Christians in Israel even today, nearly 2000 years later!
Lydia was a God worshiper too - but the Lord opened her heart. When He opened her heart He changed her nature. And as a result of God changing her nature, she was enabled to respond to Paul’s message - she did what came natural. Why didn’t He open the hearts of the Jews that came from Antioch and Iconium to stone Paul? I don’t know, but I can tell you this much, it was for God’s Glory. God told Ananias that Paul was His chosen instrument and that He would show him how much he would have to suffer for His Name. (Acts 9:16)
The bottom line is that Lydia, like many others, was a God worshiper headed for hell. But The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. The Truth is, no one is ABLE to respond to the Gospel message unless, like Lydia, the Lord opens their heart to respond. That is God drawing them. And those God draws (drags), Jesus will raise up (John 6:44), every - single - one. Jesus also said “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” (John 6:65)
THE WORD OF THE LORD.