Do You Understand?
Acts 8:26-39; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 106-109
We serve when we help others understand the Bible.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation” (Romans 1:16).
An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,’ “ Dad read.*
“Do you think an angel would ever speak to me?” Trevor interrupted, his eyes shining.
Dad smiled. “It really would be awesome, wouldn’t it? And yes, it’s possible that someday God may use an angel to speak to you. However, whether you hear God’s message from an angel, the Bible, or godly people, the important thing is that you obey, as Philip did.” He patted Trevor on the back, and together they continued reading.
The angel said to Philip, “Get ready and go south. Go to the road that leads down to Gaza from Jerusalem—the desert road.” So Philip got ready and went.’ “
Dad looked up. “Did you catch that?” he asked. “The angel only told Philip where to go. He didn’t tell him why or what would happen when he got there. And Philip didn’t ask questions. He just went.”
Dad read on. “ ‘On the road he saw a man from Ethiopia, an important officer in the service of the queen of the Ethiopians. He was responsible for taking care of all her money.’
“Hmmm,” Dad thought aloud. “That Ethiopian couldn’t have been traveling alone. He was a high government official. He must have had soldiers to protect him. And he had servants, too.”
Dad began to read again. “ ‘He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and now he was on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot and reading from the book of Isaiah, the prophet. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” So Philip ran toward the chariot.’ “
“He did it again!” Trevor exclaimed. “God spoke to Philip again!”
“He sure did,” Dad said. “And Philip obeyed right away—again. I think that’s why God could use Philip so well. Philip was a man who listened. And he was always eager to do what God wanted to get done.
“Listen to the rest of the story,” Dad went on. “ ‘He heard the man reading from Isaiah, the prophet. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He answered, “How can I understand? I need someone to explain it to me!” Then he invited Philip to climb in and sit with him.’ “
“Well, I guess then Philip knew why the angel sent him to the desert!” Trevor said.
“I think you’re right,” Dad agreed. “The Ethiopian was reading a verse that says, ‘He was like a sheep being led to be killed. . . . He was shamed and treated unfairly.’ The Ethiopian man looked at Philip and said, ‘Please tell me, who is the prophet talking about?’ So Philip jumped right in. He told the Ethiopian the good news about Jesus.
“And do you know what happened next?” Dad asked.
“Well, as they were riding down the road, studying together, they came to some water. And the Ethiopian said, ‘Look! Here is some water! What is stopping me from being baptized?’ So Philip baptized him. And then do you know what happened?”
“The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian never saw him again!”
“Wow!” Trevor breathed.
Dad smiled. “This story really shows us how God will do whatever it takes. He will find a way to reach someone who wants to know Him. And He uses the people who already know Him to help others understand.”
“Do you think someday He’ll use me?” Trevor looked at Dad hopefully.
Dad put his arm around Trevor’s shoulder and gave him a hug. “I’m sure He will!”