Acts 8:26

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 8:26

“But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” –  Acts 8:26

Philip, after the incident in Samaria regarding Simon the magician, Philip is visited by an angel of the Lord who commanded him to go south on the road leading to Gaza.  He gave him no other information, just to go south.  Did he ask the angel why or what for?  Did he sit and think about it?  Here is Philip’s response to the angel.  “So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship.” Acts 8:27.  He immediately got up from where he was and left. 

In the book of Isaiah, we see another similar event.  He is having a vision that God is showing him.  “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” Isaiah 6:1.  This is one of the most astonishing visions men have had as recorded in scriptures.  Because of this, he realized his sin as well as the sin of Israel and he humbly repented.  “Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  Isaiah 6:5.  Because of this repentance, God forgave him, after which God calls Isaiah to a task in the form of a question, upon which Isaiah answered immediately.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:6:8. 

Both of these passages record the calling of God on the lives of believers.  In Acts 8, Philip is called to go south to speak with an Ethiopian eunuch about Christ, and In Isaiah 6, Isaiah is called to go to the people of Israel to declare their future due to the sins of Israel.  But there is one thing that links these two passages together.  That is neither questioned the calling, but immediately obeyed and followed.

Each one of the disciples whom Jesus called also left immediately when called.  This is an important idea to understand.  When God calls us to a particular task, we should immediately say, as Isaiah said. “Here am I, send me”.  Isaiah 6:8b.  And we should act as Philip did by not hesitating but respond at that time by obeying.  I see any calling of God as an incredible honor and privilege given to us.  And this from God who knows everything.  He knows the end from the beginning therefore He already knows what is necessary and who can fulfill it as He desires.  Therefore, if He calls us to do something, He both knows we are able to do it as He wants with the best outcome there is.  There may be times when we think we are not qualified or are unable because of the all the requirements.  I thought the same way at times.  But I have learned that He never calls us to do anything on our own.  “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.  We are never alone, for it says in His Word, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8. 

We can trust God in everything.  He will never call us to anything we cannot accomplish, for He will be with us through the process.  Therefore, when He calls us to anything, do as Philip does and do not hesitate or question it, but realize you will be working with Him to accomplish something good, and say as Isaiah stated, “Here am I, send me”.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Acts 8:31

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 8:31  

“And he said, Well, how could I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” – Acts 8:31 

This story starts off with an angel reaching out to Philip with a specific task to perform.  “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26b.  And what was Philip’s response?  He immediately gets up and goes where the angel tells him.  He had no idea why, and he did not take the time to ask.  He simply started on his journey in the direction he was being led.  And while he is going south, he comes across an Ethiopian eunuch sitting in his chariot reading the words of the prophet Isaiah. “Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Acts 8:20. Notice again, no question or hesitation from Philip.

When Philip gets to the chariot and notices the Eunuch is reading Isaiah the prophet, he asks him a question.  “Do you understand what you are reading?” Acts 8:30b.  Being that this man was from Ethiopia it was a good question to ask for it was a place where few if any would read from the Jewish texts.  “And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”  Acts 8:31. Sounds like he This man was open and honest with Philip.  He did not pretend to know anything, which is a sign that he truly was looking to know exactly what he was reading.

Now, based on what the man was reading, I believe that God led him to this text, for he was reading of the Messiah, the one sent to die for this man’s sins.  “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?” Isaiah 53:7-8.  The Eunuch than asked Philip a question.  “The Eunuch answered Philip and said,  Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Acts 8:34.  What a great question, and Philip used it to teach him about Jesus.

This man understood and accepted what Philip was explaining to him.  He assured him again by asking a question.  “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Acts 8:36. Philip answers by asking him a question.  “And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37. After this, Philip baptized him and then was taken away, and the Eunuch went on his way rejoicing.

This is a powerful story which speaks loudly on how God will use us in His work here on earth.  Many times, He will tell us to go somewhere or to somebody because He has an important work for us to do.  And like with Philip, He may only tell us where to go or who to speak with.  We should be open to hearing the leading of the Lord and ready to follow at any time.  Philip opened the conversation with an honest question and received an honest answer.  Those who are truly seeking will be open to us when they see we care about them and can help them understand the things of God.  And as Philip’s ears and heart was open to the guidance of God in this incident, we should always be open to what God is telling us to do, even if it appears to make no sense. The important thing to understand is that if God is leading us somewhere, it does make sense and will come to a wonderful good.

I want to encourage us all to be open to the leading and guiding of God in our lives.  He wants to use us and will bring about much good if we allow ourselves to be used.  As Philip showed us, if God calls us to do something, we should not delay in following His leading.  He has a reason for what He wants us to do and when He wants it done.  I remember when I felt God leading me into downtown Miami in the middle of the night which resulted in leading a young man to stop his drug usage and go back to the Lord, as well as going home to his dad.  It was an amazing night, and I am still humbled when I look back and see what God did that evening.  God wants to use us here in His work.  So, as Philip knew and heard the words of God and went immediately when called, so should we when He calls us to do His work.  We have no idea what we can accomplish when we give our lives totally to His service.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.