As the Pastor was teaching, the Lord was showing me some things and I thought I'd share them with you... I hope it blesses you.
In Acts 8:26-31
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, and was returning, and sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
And he (the eunuch) said, "How can I except some man should guide me?" And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
I love this story! I love that it is an example that God does give us clear, specific direction:
"go toward south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert."
I know there are times when I think something too big or too small or too whatever for God to give me direction. But He is sooo good and cares for us and loves us. He gives direction and guidance and wisdom in all things. I love that.
God gives Philip direction that maybe, just maybe wasn't Philip's first choice. Philip was told to leave Jerusalem. Leave the temple and tangible presence of God, leave other "believers" and go some place hot and uncomfortable. He was told to go the desert where it could be dangerous or at least unknown and unpredictable.
But Philip knows that wherever he goes, when he goes, he doesn't go alone.
God goes with Him.
Wherever we may go, when we go, we don't go alone either. God is faithful and He is present wherever we may find ourselves. (Even in Missouri-- hee hee).
I love Philip because the scriptures say, "And he arose and went:"
Philip wasn't like Jonah going in another direction. We see no record of Philip arguing with God or having some stamp-your-foot temper tantrum.
Philip simply obeyed and trusted in His God. Oh, what an example he is for us, for me.
"Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."
Again, more very specific direction. Why did the Spirit give more direction to Philip?
Because Philip obeyed the directions he received before.
When I am frustrated about not hearing from the Lord I have to stop and ask myself, "What was the last thing, the last direction, I received from the Lord and did I obey it?"
He is a God of love and He is mindful that we are just dust. He will not continue to flood and overwhelm us with direction after direction. Instead He is long-suffering and grows us and waits for us to be ready to hear the next step after we've taken the first step.
Now Philip, I believe, is having a good time. I say that because previously he arose and went. This time he "ran thither to him." He is delighting in obedience and running to do the will of the Lord because as he obeys he also grows in knowledge and intimacy with the Lord and doing God's will becomes a delight to Philip.
Now, because Philip is available, the eunuch invites him in and is willing to learn from him.
Philip is not stressed-out wondering how to get the chariot how to stop. He isn't screaming at him and doing anything that draws attention to himself. He is simply where God has placed Him and is available so God can use him.
And use him God does! Verses 32-34 of Acts 8 says that the eunuch was reading a prophecy of Jesus that the eunuch didn't understand. Verse 35 says , "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."
This is when God gave me the picture.
Having recently flown on an airplane, I was freshly reminded of the
"In The Event of An Emergency" demonstration.
Do you remember what you're supposed to do? In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will appear from the overhead. Take a mask and place it over your mouth and nose and tighten the strings THEN assist your children and/or other passengers.
If you are not taking in oxygen and able to breathe and sustain life, you're not supposed to try and help other people breathe.
It makes sense right? But how often do we try to help others when we need more help than they do?
Jesus talks about first removing the log from our own eye so we can see clearly to help remove the speck from a friends' eye.
When we are in a right place with Lord, when we are breathing in His Word and His Spirit, we see clearly and we are able to help others.
We didn't make it to the end of Chapter 8 at church today but it ends with the eunuch coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus, being baptized and going away rejoicing.
It also ends with Philip, after his "job" was done with the eunuch, being taken to the next place. Again he is, by the power of the Spirit, next seen "preaching in all the cities."
How wonderful that he is able to use each experience the Lord brings him to as testimony for other people to come to Jesus too. How awesome that as we are faithful with each thing the Lord brings us, He uses it to prepare for the next thing He has for us.
I pray that we would be able to breathe deeply the things of You before an "emergency." I pray we would be a people ready to give an answer for the faith we have-- to our children, our families and those that invite us into their lives. Thank You for Your Spirit that teaches us and guides us and provides us with the words to speak.
Be glorified in us Jesus as we watch and wait for Your coming. May we be faithful is all things by Your power and for Your good pleasure.