Monday Morning Devotion-May 18, 2020
The 2nd Step
*reprint from May 2015
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°Acts 8:26-27a.
OK so here is where we often get stuck. God tells us to do something, but before we do it we want Him to show us what the next step will be. Before we take that first step we want to know where taking that second step will lead us.
Guess what. It doesn't work that way. You see there is this thing called Faith. Faith is taking the first step before God reveals to us the second step. (Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber, pg 76.)
Phillip was a preacher who was enjoying great success preaching the Gospel despite the persecution of Christians that was afoot at the time. Saul was jailing Believers, both men and women. He was whisking them off to prison. He had been present at the stoning death of Stephen who was a "man full of God's grace and power and did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people." (Acts 6:8 LAB)
Most of those who were preaching the word were hanging around in Jerusalem. When the persecution broke out, they scattered. Philip "went down to a city in Samaria, where most of the Jews would not be caught dead, and proclaimed the Christ there. Thus, he became one of the first to preach the Gospel outside Jerusalem. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs, they all paid close attention to what he said."
Philip was doing all right when all of a sudden God told him to get on the road. Like the scripture said: "So he started out." He didn't question what God told him to do he got on the road. No grabbing a suitcase or fixing a sandwich. He "started out."
If we are going to meet that right person at the right time for the right reason, that is what we need to do when God calls. We need to "start out." We won't encounter that Divine Appointment sitting on the sofa watching television.
Here's what happened when Philip went on the road in answer to God's instructions. As he was traveling, he came across a chariot and there was an Ethiopian eunuch sitting in it. He was an important official in Queen Candace's Court. She was the Queen of Ethiopia, which was located in Africa, south of Egypt.
We assume that this man of importance, who was in charge of the Queen's treasury, was a Gentile convert to Judaism. He had traveled a very long distance to worship in Jerusalem.
"The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it." When Philip approached the chariot, he heard the man reading from Isaiah and asked him if he understood it. His response was "How can I unless someone explains it to me."
How could a preacher ask for anything more? A man who was hungry to learn the meaning of a scripture. Philip began to explain the passage and told Him "the good news about Jesus."
Right there on that lonely dusty road, because he faithfully answered God's call, even before he knew what the 2nd step would be, Philip was able to "bring Christianity into the power structure of another government."
You never know what will happen when you take that first step of faith in answer to God's call.
Batterson's church in Washington, D.C. helped plant a church in 2005 in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa. He has visited Ethiopia numerous times and witnessed first-hand the work of the Lord taking place there.
He says, "I believe the next chapter of Ethiopia's history will be it's greatest chapter, but the country has a long history of Christianity that traces all the way back to one divine appointment between two people who never should have met. It was the first link in an unbroken chain of Christianity that spans two millennia. And the aftershock of that one supernatural synchronicity still registers on the Richter scale two thousand years later."
I love that! God has the power to make things like that happen. In fact, He does it all the time. Supernaturally He causes things to occur simultaneously that we could not make happen on our own.
Think about it. What supernatural synchronicities have occurred in your life? I bet there are lots of them that you have never even thought about in that fashion. How and why did they occur?
One of the biggest supernatural synchronicities in my life occurred with my meeting the Lovely Susette. Both of us had experienced a marriage that didn't work out followed by quite a few years of being alone. Then, one unsuspecting, marvelous day the Lord put us in the same place at the same time. From that has blossomed a beautiful relationship and a happy marriage beyond what we could have imagined. Chance encounter? I don't think so.
The Lord has surprised me so many times that I no longer believe in coincidences. His plan is a good one. The best! But, for it to unfold the way it is designed it often calls me to step out in faith without knowing what the 2nd step would be. I would not have met up with the Lovely Susette while sitting on my sofa watching TV.
I can think back to many of these kinds of situations. And the old saying is that "hindsight is 20-20 vision" is correct. That vision would not be looking back on some major success stories if we hadn't made a good-faith move without knowing what was next. We might have hopes that the next occurrence would be a good one. But we don't know until we make a move.
When we take that first step without knowing what the second step will bring about that is when our faith goes to work for us. It is fueled by our trust in God. Then, good things happen!
Monday Prayer: Thank you Lord for the supernatural synchronicities that occur in our lives when we take the first step in faith, not knowing the direction our second step will take us. Amen!
***Author's note: Step out in faith this week and see what great things God has in store for you on that 2nd step and all the subsequent ones as well.
Once again, my thanks to Mark Batterson who continues to inspire me with his writing. Being introduced to his work was a supernatural synchronicity for me.