Read: Acts 8:26-40
An angel of the Lord said to [Philip], “Go south down the desert road” (Acts 8:26).
The story of Eric Liddell’s athletic prowess was immortalized in the highly acclaimed 1981 movie Chariots of Fire. Eric was expected to win gold in the 100 m race in the 1924 Olympics. Staying true to his convictions, however, Eric withdrew from the race because he would not compete on Sunday. Despite intense criticism, he entered the 400 m race instead and—with only five months preparation—won the gold in world-record time. Lucrative sponsorships and deals awaited him. But Eric chose to walk away from fame and wealth to be a missionary in China.
Philip had a successful ministry in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8). Instead of remaining in the city to reach the masses, he left for “the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26). Beyond Gaza was a huge desert. Following God’s leading, Philip took the road few used.
But in His divine plan, God had arranged for Philip to meet with an Ethiopian—a Gentile who himself had embarked on a 200-mile journey as he earnestly sought after God (Acts 8:27). Philip made contact with him just as the Ethiopian was reading a prophecy about Jesus (Acts 8:28-34). The man believed in Christ and was baptized on the spot (Acts 8:36-38). Somehow God even made waters available in the dry desert. Imagine how Philip must have felt when he realized he had been sent out on the divine assignment of leading a devoted seeker into heaven!
Philip on the road least traveled was no accident; he was there by God’s leading. Solomon wisely observed, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9). All our actions are under God’s providential care, “for in him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). May we follow Him by faith today.
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