Monday, November 10, 2014

Acts 8:38-39 -- On Being Led by the Spirit

"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
Acts 8:38-39

Before these verses, an Angel tells Philip to go to a certain place, and then the Spirit tells him to catch up with a certain chariot, all in order to talk to this particular man and be able to convert him.  And then, as soon as he had baptized him and they were coming back, the Spirit whisked him off somewhere else.  Very cool story, and I love the idea of God leading us from one place to another where we can do the most good.
My question about these particular verses though is, if the Spirit could take Philip anywhere, why do it at the end of this story and not the beginning?  Couldn't the spirit have just taken him directly to the chariot... or outside the chariot, if that would have startled people too much? :)  ... And I have no idea whether Philip needed instruction or not, but even if he didn't, perhaps his experience is instructive for us.  We have a hard time hearing God sometimes, and trusting him.  God was more obvious with Philip at first, and led him to specific places, without telling him the ultimate destination or the reason.  Perhaps this helped Philip trust God more, knowing that if he just listened and acted on God's instructions, that opportunities would present themselves.  For us, there are probably many more steps that come before even the Angel stage.  Perhaps we have to learn at some point even that God is there, and know him a little before we'll even believe in an Angel sent from God.
Another thing I love about this story is how much effort God had Philip put into talking to this one person.  Maybe it was a strategic conversion in some way that would lead to many other people considering the gospel, but I appreciate also that God really did want to answer this man's questions and save *him* as an individual.  The same is true for us.  When we read the scriptures and we don't get it, or when we have questions about the gospel, God will send people into our lives, through miraculous or mundane means, who can help us.
Today, let's be open to the guidance that God sends into our lives, whether it is the spirit or another person.  Let's open our hearts to God's truth and learn all we can, and ask more questions.  Let's grow in the gospel so that we can be like Philip, led by the Spirit to help others, and like the man in the chariot, led by the spirit to take necessary steps for our own salvation.

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