Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise and go…’ So he arose and went. Acts 8:26-27
Philip was a good Jew. He had grown up in God’s chosen nation and at some point heard the good news of Jesus Christ. He received this news with joy and his life was hijacked by God. He became filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, only to be called upon to wait tables in order to settle disputes between Jewish and Hellenistic believers.
Then, to make matters worse, persecution breaks out and he has to flee. He scatters off to hated Samaria, but there in the least likely of places, he gets his big breakthrough. He preaches the gospel to the city and entire masses of people are getting saved, healed, and delivered. Not bad for your first ministry trip!
But then things take another turn. He’s enjoying this stadium-like crusade, when the Spirit of the Lord says, Philip, it’s time to leave.
He could have said, No, no, no. We’re not going anywhere. Great stuff is happening here. But that’s not what he says. The Bible says that when he got the word, He arose and went.
But check it out. He might have been happy to leave Samaria, but his new assignment is even worse. He has to walk down a desert road by himself. It’s going to be hot and humid and sticky and smelly and hellish. All for what? All so that he can get to Gaza-the land of the Philistines and pagans. It’s like, This is not an upgrade, God, and I thought I got my big break.
And God’s like, I know how good things were there in Samaria, and I’ve got a heart for the crowds that are being saved there. But I also have a heart for the one individual who is lost and lonely and needs me on a road to nowhere. And I want you to go reach him.
Philip obeys God and leaves the Samaritan crusade to go find one single dude. But this dude happens to serve the queen in Ethiopia, overseeing her entire treasury. And here’s the most amazing part of the story: This is the banner story over Ethiopia, that they trace their faith back to the faithfulness of this guy Philip, who meets with one of their ancestors and does so completely out of an offering of obedience.
See, the Ethiopian man went back to his country and spread the good news of Jesus to such an extent that people in that nation who believe today trace their faith back to his testimony. Such was the power of Philip’s simple obedience despite all circumstances.
Your obedience is powerful. Can God count on you?
Prayer Father God,
Thank You for testimonies like Philip’s to encourage me about how powerful my obedience can be! Please lead and guide me, use me as You used Philip, whether to touch one person or change cities. Whatever You tell me to do, I will follow!