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Spirit Directed Ministry

Acts 8:26-29
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' 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, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.' (NIVUK)

Philip's evangelistic ministry in Samaria was effective. People were hungry for God's Word and many believed in Jesus (Acts 8:12). We do not know the timing, but it seems that in the middle of Philip's mission, the Lord told him to move on, taking a southerly route which met the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. There were no further instructions. Philip obeyed, not knowing what situation he might find.

Somewhere along that east-west road leading to the coast, and the coastal north-south road to Egypt, Philip encountered chariots. The main vehicle carried the chief treasury minister for the Kingdom of Kush (Ethiopia) which was immediately south of Egypt (where Sudan is today). The modern day Ethiopia is still further south. The Kingdom was ruled by a woman, Queen Kandake (Candace). Rich monarchs in those days liked to appoint eunuchs because they were infertile, could have no family and were unlikely to be a threat to the throne.

This eunuch was God-fearing. He had been to worship in Jerusalem, but because he was a eunuch he was forbidden to enter the temple worship area (Deuteronomy 23:1); presumably he had to stay in the Court of the Gentiles. Although he had a highly paid job and was trusted by the Queen, he could not worship with God's people. Yet he was spiritually hungry and would have heard about Jesus. It was a frustrating situation and yet he did what he could: he read God's Word. The Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot and stay close to it. God had work for Philip to do (Acts 8:30-39).

God knows what He is going to do, and who He wants to help Him. He looks for believers who are prepared to follow His instructions, step by step, without knowing what the assignment will be. Sometimes He moves us from being spiritually fruitful with many people, to a desert or just a single person. The Holy Spirit has His way of telling us to move or stay, to continue as we are or to change course. Even when He does change our circumstances He may not immediately reveal what He wants us to do. But He will get us to the right place at the right time and often let us wait until He commands the moment of ministry. So be willing to let Him direct you; and wait for His timing.

Lord God Almighty. Thank You for choosing to use Your servants to work with You, to extend the Kingdom of heaven. Forgive me for the times I have resisted Your direction or rushed to serve You before the right time. Please help me to be willing to follow Your leading one step at a time, without knowing all the details, so that I will be in the right place at the right time to do Your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams