Listen and Move

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship.’ Acts 8:26-27

To put today’s reading into context, Philip, in order to escape persecution in Jerusalem, makes his way to Samaria- the result of which is the conversion of a whole city. God then asks Philip to go down south along a desert road. ‘So he started out…’ Philip listens and moves. He does not appear to ask any of the questions we might like- who will there be to preach to in an empty desert? What about provisions for the journey? Where will he spend the night and how long will it take to reach Gaza? Perhaps Philip did think about these things but the point is, they didn’t stop him from obeying.

What we see next is the opposite of what happened in Samaria where people marvelled at the miraculous signs and wonders the disciples performed. Instead baptism comes simply from hearing and understanding. Philip comes across an Ethiopian official heading back home after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He is reading aloud from the book of Isaiah. He invites Philip to explain the passage to him and the result is the Ethiopian’s baptism- right then and there in the desert. Neither the Samaritan nor Ethiopians were Jews yet they worshipped like them and knew of the coming of the Messiah. God’s plans to build the church included these unique groups of people and then the rest of the Gentile world. And how did it happen? A non-Jew sought to know God better and was shown by a Jew. This is the same today for Christians and non-Christians. Some sow, some water (1 Corinthians 3:6-9); we can come alongside others at any stage in the journey to Christ because we are co-workers with God but it is God who causes them to grow.

2 Corinthians 5:17 states that, ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ But Romans 10:14 makes an important point, ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?’ If Philip did not act upon what he heard, the Ethiopian would not have understood or given his life to God that day.

Sometimes obedience doesn’t make sense. It made sense to go to a city full of people but not an empty desert and yet God knew the seeking heart of the man travelling that dusty road that day. God’s Spirit roams the earth looking for such people and we need to play our part, even when we don’t understand.

- Jesse Kaur

Inward prayer: Father God, help me to listen and obey your voice.

Outward prayer: Father, would you show me who you want me to pray with and give me the courage to move to them.

1 Comment

Tomi - September 23rd, 2021 at 11:23am

Lord pls give us listening ears and help us to play our parts ,even when we do not understand.