So, Philip had been in town a few weeks and it had been an amazing time. He had been honest with people about his faith and lots of people had turned to follow Jesus. Philip was really excited, things were going well and he was seeing God at work but it was at that very moment that God told him to leave the city and to head south.
How weird is that?
We don’t know if Philip immediately obeyed God or whether he questioned, but the Bible does make clear (you can read about it in Acts 8) that Philip obeyed and went (v27).
On the road South, Philip met a man from Ethiopia who he talked with and then that man asked to be baptized as a sign of his commitment to follow Jesus.
When this happened, Philip could see clearly why God had led him to that spot, but I wonder how he had felt on the way?
It was around 50 miles from Samaria to where Philip encountered the Ethiopian. As Philip walked along during those few days, was he looking forward to where God was leading him or was he frustrated at leaving behind a successful ministry? Was he certain that he was doing the right thing or did he doubt? We don’t know the answer to these questions but we do know that Philip obeyed.
Sometimes God calls us to do things but we can’t always see or understand why he calls us, or why it is the right time. In these moments, will we continue to trust God when we know that it is him who is speaking?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs3.5-6)
It may surprise you to learn that God doesn’t just want you to obey him when you agree with him!
At times we need to let go of our own understanding and judgement when we are certain that it is God who is speaking to and guiding us? You can read more about these verses from Proverbs in God will make your paths straight but not necessarily mud free.
Philip was willing to take a risk by obeying what he believed that God was saying and this meant that he was in the right place at the right time to join God in what he was doing.
So, instead of just rushing around today, will we stop and pray and ask God to show us things?
Will we ask God to lead us to the right places and people and will we obey him if we are sure that it is him who is guiding us?
There are so many examples in the Bible of people having to take real risks in order to obey God, so why do we think that Christianity will be plain sailing and easy?
If you want to think through this subject some more, then you might find it helpful to read; The Numerous Health and Safety Breaches in the Crossing of the Jordan River.