Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Divine Appointments

Take The Desert Road

In Acts 8:26-40, we read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. I won't include the entire passage in this post (I've given you the link to view online), but let's quickly look at verses 26-30,
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.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked (NIV, 2010).
I find this passage in Acts extremely interesting on a number of different levels. One, the Lord asked Philip to head for the desert road. This was a desolate place out in the middle of nowhere. Two, the Lord never gave an explanation to Philip why he should head out to this desolate place. Three, Philip listened and obeyed. There was no argument. God spoke and Philip left immediately. Four, because Philip was obedient to the Lord's direction, he just "happened" to meet an important official from the court of the queen of Ethiopia.

A Divine Appointment

God had a greater purpose for Philip and this Ethiopian official meeting up on the desert road. Because God is God, He knows all things. God knew that this God-fearing Ethiopian would be on this road reading a certain Scripture passage from the book of Isaiah. God knew that this Ethiopian was spiritually hungry to learn more about Him, but he needed help. He needed a teacher to help him understand Isaiah's prophecies about the Savior.

As an evangelist in the early church, Philip was available and ready to do whatever God needed him to do. God told him to go, and he went. Philip was God's man at God's timing to carry the gospel to Ethiopia through this government official from the court of Queen Candace.

The Ethiopian official was in a unique position to be an influential messenger to his country. He already had a heart for God. Apparently, he was either a Jewish Ethiopian (perhaps as a result of Old Testament exile of the nation of Judah) or he was simply a convert of Judaism. Either way, this official had just made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God, and he was now on his way back to Ethiopia when God sent Philip to tell him about Jesus.

This was no accidental encounter, though. God had a purpose for bringing together the divine appointment of Philip and the Ethiopian official. First, so that the official would understand the gospel and accept Christ as Messiah and Savior. Second, so that the official could carry the good news back to his country and tell others.

Divine Appointments In My Own Life

I don't know about you, but I can point back to specific points in my life where I can now recognize those as unique divine appointments that were brought together by God. He brought unique circumstances as well as people across my path and into my life to help me gain clarity on what His direction was for my life. Without these unique circumstances and people, who knows where I would have ended up?

God has an exclusive plan for all of us who claim the name of Christ, and He will accomplish His plan for us through a special blend of timing, circumstances, and people. Be open to these divine appointments, and as God brings circumstances and people in your life, embrace the changes that God wants to bring about in your life.

One final word: don't forget that God will never tell you to do something through circumstances and people that will contradict His Word. Always measure these apparent divine appointments against the truth of God's Word.

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  1. Good stuff Larry. I like this passage for the same reasons. Always on the look out for whose path God might want you to cross.

  2. Thanks, Jay. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.