PASTOR GLEN'S BLOG
May 31, 2018
In Acts 8:26-40 an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. J. B. Taylor, in the New Bible Dictionary, says, “The angel of the Lord . . . is represented in Scripture as a heavenly being sent by God to deal with men as his personal agent and spokesman. In many passages, he is virtually identified with God and speaks not merely in the name of God but as God in the first person singular.” Basically, it was God himself who spoke to Philip in the form of an angel. When the Lord spoke to Philip he asked something that didn’t seem to make much sense. He asked Philip to leave a fruitful ministry in Jerusalem and go to Gaza – a city that was about fifty miles southwest of Jerusalem at the end of the Palestinian world of that time. Gaza was right at the edge of the Sinai desert, which trailed off into Egypt, and was sparsely populated. This seemed like such a fruitless area for ministry, and many people would have questioned God about going to such a place.
Sometimes God will ask us to do something that doesn’t make much sense, but like Philip we need to be attentive and obedient to God’s leading. Philip didn’t question the Lord, or say to him, “Lord, I really need some time to think and pray about this.” If God has spoken to us, and we say that we will pray about it, what that really means is that we want to debate or question God and struggle with him. If God tells us to GO, we need to respond with “YES” – or we might end up as Jonah and be swallowed by a whale. And, by the way, isn’t that what the Great Commission is all about . . . “Go therefore and make disciples . . .” (Matthew 28:19)
You might be thinking, “I never heard God speak to me in an audible voice. So, how do I hear God speaking to me and in what ways does he speak?” In our messages over the last month we have discovered through Mark Batterson’s book, Whisper, How to Hear the Voice of God, that God speaks through various love languages: the primary language in which God speaks to us is through God’s Word, the Bible. God also speaks through desires, doors, and dreams. In the next several weeks we will see how God likewise speaks through people, promptings, and even pain.
God still speaks to us today, and if we debate whether or not he is speaking, we may miss an opportunity for a blessing. Philip was obedient to God and he went on his way to Gaza; and on his way, he met a eunuch from Ethiopia. Now Philip heard the Lord tell him to go to Gaza, and he thought God was going to use him in ministry somewhere in Gaza; but God didn’t intend for him to minister in Gaza – but on the way to Gaza. This scenario provides us with an important spiritual truth. “Sometimes we become so focused on our destination [or our perception or preconceived ideas of God’s plan] that we miss opportunities to share the love of Christ along the way.”
We need to always be open to God’s leading. If he speaks, then we need to be sensitive to hear his voice again. Remember that one of the ways the Lord speaks to us is through doors. An Ethiopian eunuch coming down the road dressed nicely and driving a brand-new chariot was definitely a circumstance that couldn’t be ignored by Philip. He had to take notice; he needed to walk through this open door for ministry. It is my prayer that we will view every encounter with individuals throughout the day as circumstances that God has arranged to share with people about Jesus. So, let’s be listening and watching!!