In the eighth chapter of Acts, an angel of the Lord told Philip to stop what he was doing and start out toward the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. At the time, Philip was busy preaching and healing in Samaria. The Lord gave Philip no explanation, and he had no idea why he was being sent. Yet he obeyed.
While traveling down this road, Philip was passed by a chariot and the Holy Spirit told him to stay near it. When he caught up to the chariot, he heard a man inside reading from Isaiah the prophet. The man, a eunuch from Ethiopia, was an important official of the queen. Immediately Philip understood why the Spirit had led him to this place in the middle of nowhere. He was able to witness to the eunuch and bring him to Christ (Acts 8:26-35).
Had Philip not been listening to the Spirit’s leading, or had he chosen not to heed His direction (or worse yet, failed to acknowledge that the Spirit actually speaks to us), he would have missed out on this divine appointment.
UNDERSTANDING GOD’S AUTHORITY
The truth is, had Philip stayed in Samaria preaching, he probably would have reached many more for Christ during this period of time. Instead, God diverted him for the sake of one soul. It would have been easy for Philip to question this mandate, to second-guess God’s wisdom in leading him away during a successful and busy time in his outreach, but he didn’t. Philip understood God’s authority and knew better than to question His ways.
THE VALUE OF LISTENING
What does it mean to trust God and walk in the Spirit? Jesus offers us a perfect description:
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with every one born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
When and where God leads may not always make sense to us. But a true disciple learns to listen and obey, regardless of his or her own opinions or agenda at the moment.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.