He Got Up & Went
Later God's angel spoke to Philip: "At noon today I want you to walk over to that desolate road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza." He got up and went. Acts 8:26
The first thing that catches my attention here is "he got up and went." God has asked Philip to go to a desolate -deserted, bleak, empty- road...the end. He didn't give him any other information. He just said go to this road in the desert and...what?
Philip didn't know. He didn't ask why. He just got up and went. Now, I don't know about you, but that's the kind of follower of God I aspire to be. The kind where God says "do this" and I say NOTHING. I just go and do.
But friends, I so often DO say something. I want to know why. I want to know how. I want to know what to expect. I want to know how things are going to play out from start to finish. I want assurances. I want to make things comfortable for me. Ouch! That hurts, but it's the truth.
Once he arrives at the road he sees a eunuch of great authority in Egypt riding on a chariot. He had been to Jerusalem to worship and was now returning. He was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. But Philip didn't know this man was reading scriptures. He didn't know this man was confused by what he read. Philip didn't know the Lord intended him to teach this Ethiopian what these scriptures meant. He didn't know that once he shared the gospel with this eunuch he would ask to be baptized and he would baptize him. That the man would go back to Ethiopia rejoicing and no doubt continue to spread the gospel there. He didn't know any of that! He didn't know any of that when the Holy Spirit said to him, "Go over and walk along beside the carriage." He just obeyed and let God lead him.
What do we learn from this passage?
Obey & Go.
God is looking for people who will obey him. He is looking for those who are keeping his commands in the seen and unseen places. Let's be them!
We don't need to know why, we just need to know who. Who is asking is enough for us. If God is asking us to do something it's because he has a plan and a purpose, and we don't need to fully understand it to obey it. If God is asking you to do something right now - start a small group in your home, reach out to a person he has laid on your heart, share your faith with a coworker or stranger, serve someone specifically in your community - just do it.
Philip expected to be shown by God what to do and what to say. He didn't ask God to show him the next step, he knew God would provide it if he just obeyed. As he obeyed, he expected God to lead. And I have no doubt that if Philip got to that desolated road and had not seen someone coming down it he would've waited on God to provide the next step.
This Ethiopian was of high royal position, but he was also a eunuch. In ancient times, young males who were going to serve in the court were often castrated so they would not be a threat around the king's harem or with the queen. This man was a foreigner who came to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, but we don't know why. Many scholars believe this man was probably a proselyte, a gentile that had converted to the Jewish faith. But nevertheless, he obviously had a desire to know more about their God.
This man was searching for a God who understood him. A God who saw him and loved him. He was looking for a rescuer. One who would come close and never leave. One who could help him make sense of this life and give him hope. One who brought purpose to his being. One he could stake his life on. One who brings the dead to life. He was looking for what we all need. And because Philip was obedient, he was able to be a part of God's redemptive plan for this man! He was able to share the good news and this man walked away rejoicing and raised to life in Jesus.
I don't know about you, but I want to be a part of the rejoicing that is going on in this world when people are being raised from death to life in Jesus!