WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS GO HERE OR THERE, GO!
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then 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. 32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation, he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then, both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” (Acts 8:26—40)
It must have been an experience that Philip will never forget. How can it be? At first, Luke wrote; NOW an ANGEL of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. And so Philip started out. There are NO details of what Philip was supposed to do or his knowing why he has to go by way of a desert road. But when he started off on his way, he met an Ethiopian official who was in charge of the Queen of Ethiopia’s affairs. This man was in Jerusalem to worship.
The Ethiopian went to worship; he seemed devoted to going that far, too. He was reading the scripture but could not understand what it said and to whom it was written. Now, the SPIRIT told Philip, “Go to the chariot and stay near it.” Philip was one of those who scattered after Saul went wild and started to destroy believers. He must have just barely made it out from all the madness that scattered so many believers.
Even in challenging times, the Spirit still works to fulfill his purpose. The Spirit was still leading Philip and directing him to go south to the desert road. I’m thinking, why is it, at times, that the Spirit often leads people to the desert road? I believe now that the desert abandoned road is where we will often hear the Spirit clearly without the buzzing noise of our life challenges. It is often in the desert where we clearly hear the Spirit and rely on him completely.
God has a purpose for the desert road when we listen and follow his direction. The desert road is often a place where we meet others who are journeying together in need of God’s direction. The desert road has no respect for people, no matter what our status in life is. The Ethiopian that Philip met was a highly regarded government official. He, too, was a worshipper of God, yet confused about his own faith. There are many believers who are like this highly regarded Ethiopian government official who worship but are confused about faith.
But Philip, who was filled with the Spirit, was being led by him to a desert road to meet a seeker of life in Jesus. We often despise the desert road experience because there is no excitement there. But today, I am reminded that many are walking life on the desert road, hungry for a connection with Christ. Like Philip, in spite of our own challenges in life, we must always be open to being led by the Spirit, even to difficult places, so we may encounter a lonely soul who is seeking and desiring to know Jesus.
The Spirit is always working and leading people to fulfill His purpose in various situations and circumstances. Whether we are running from something, as Philip did, or riding our chariots like the Ethiopian governmental official did, we must never forget how the Spirit of the Lord moves sovereignly in directing us to the point of his purpose for us to fulfill his purpose. The Ethiopian was so moved that he met Jesus and was baptized. He rejoiced, and Philip continued to preach the good news. The Spirit guides both the Ethiopians and Philip to the point of connection where the divine encounter happened.
Today, I want to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God to do what is on his heart. So many times I am insensitive to the prompting of the Spirit to do something because my eyes are often on the situation. I want to fully trust the leading of the Spirit to lead me even if the way is unclear to me. I do not want to miss the Spirit’s leading because I see it makes no sense why he wants me to be on the desert road. The Spirit sees needs and knows where to guide us to experience the solution to our problems in life. I want to be guided by him always.
Spirit, I pray that you continue to lead me in the name of Jesus to fulfill purposes that are not known to me but are on your heart to be done. I pray that you use me and teach me to trust in you and to follow your direction wherever it may lead. Help me never be afraid of the desert road if that is where you desire to lead me. I thank you for reminding me that you are always working to lead people to fulfill your purpose daily. I pray all these in Jesus’ name. Amen!