August 26, 2023
History was my absolute favorite subject in school. Loved learning American history and the historical aspects of the Bible. The book of Acts is an historical account of the early church and its prime characters. The principal actor in Acts is the Holy Spirit. In chapter 8 we see Saul (Paul), Philip, Peter and John all play different roles in this episode. Paul (still called Saul at this time) was persecuting the church thus forcing the church to scatter away from Jerusalem which was the main hub of the church. Philip went to Samaria (a people hated by the Jews) and began to preach the good news, verified by miracles. Many believed. Peter and John came alongside and helped the Samarian church. It was a wonderful display of God’s power and love for people outside of Jerusalem. There was much success. Amid that victory, God calls Philip away to an unknown desert.
I love the NIV translation – Acts 8:26 “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Vs 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian….
Here are a few thoughts / observations about Chapter 8 and specifically Philip’s journey along a desert road.
- Post salvation, Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews) but even before that, God was using his persecution of Christians to scatter the saints and help them spread the gospel to every nation – Samaria and Ethiopia (African continent)
- Philip had just experienced God moving mightily through him. He could have stayed and enjoyed a bit of the success, BUT he obeyed instead. He did not whine or even question God’s plan.
- Victory typically follows obedience. God uses Philip’s obedience to change the life of the Ethiopian and countless other people south of Israel.
- An angel communicated with Philip. God uses different methods of communication in different situations. All throughout Acts God sends messages to His Apostles / disciples but not always the same way. Today, He most often communicates through His written Word, but he still does use other methods of communication.
- We don’t know how long Philip walked or traveled before he met the Ethiopian. We just know that it was “on his way” We have the benefit of knowing the end of this story. When we are going through a desert we never know at the beginning of our journey, when along the road we will meet our appointed person.
- As you are following God in obedience- stay strong, keep walking along the desert road. If we stop, many others may never hear the Great News about Jesus’ salvation!!
Here is a link to an awesome group – Casting Crowns and their song – “Desert Road”. Enjoy
’69 / ’83 Quarryville PA