July 23

Acts 8:26, 30-31 26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road–the desert road–that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."

30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. 31"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Philip had great success while preaching in Samaria. Then an angel of the Lord spoke to him, sending him the opposite direction. That is very unique. Philip had been a deacon in Jerusalem. One of the requirements for his assignment was that he was filled with the Spirit. Why did Philip need a special messenger from God? We can only speculate. Sometimes success will deaden our ears from hearing the Spirit direct us in another way. That doesn't mean that God cannot get through to us. I find it encouraging that God got through to Philip even when he may not have been able to hear the gentle leading of the Spirit.

On the road where he was sent, he saw a chariot with an Ethiopian convert to Judaism. Running alongside, he heard the man reading from Isaiah 53. Philip knew this passage spoke as clearly as any about the life and work of his Savior Jesus. The Ethiopian invited Philip into the chariot to explain it to him.

The Holy Spirit is the great teacher, but He often teaches through people. The Ethiopian needed a human teacher to explain the truth of the Gospel in that passage. Once he understood, he immediately wanted to be baptized. He had probably experienced a water baptism when he converted to Judaism. Now he recognized that he needed to be baptized again in the name of Jesus. Seeing water along the road, he insisted on being baptized then and there. It is believed that this man was the first to bring Christianity to the African Continent. No wonder it was important for Philip to hear the message to go to that road. Philip then suddenly found himself miles to the north in a largely Gentile city.

Consider: God knows how to get us where we need to be to serve Him.