Progressing through the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit (Acts), I’ve stopped often to think about various passages. I’ve made some notes, too. I’ve just neglected to share them here, in JonahzSong. But today may be a good day to return.
In the midst of Acts chapter eight, without so much as a paragraph break, I find the Holy Spirit whisking away Philip to the desert. Many have fled the city to some desert place; usually it is to fast and pray, or perhaps to be tested. But Philip immediately comes to a caravan and is instructed to join himself to it. He discovers a man from Ethiopia, who’d been to Jerusalem to worship, reading from the book of Isaiah 53:7,8:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Philip approaches the man, asks if he understands this scripture. The man replies that he can’t except with a guide. The Bible is too complex for him, he needs help. Matthew Henry puts it this way: “The eunuch in a sense of his need of assistance, desires Philip’s company (Act_8:31): “How can I understand, says he, except some one guide me? Therefore pray come up, and sit with me.” (1.) He speaks as one that had very low thoughts of himself, and his own capacity and attainments. He was so far from taking it as an affront to be asked whether he understood what he read, though Philip was a stranger, on foot, and probably looked mean (which many a less man would have done, and have called him an impertinent fellow, and bid him go about his business, what was it to him?) that he takes the question kindly, makes a very modest reply, How can I? We have reason to think he was an intelligent man, and as well acquainted with the meaning of scripture as most were, and yet he modestly confesses his weakness. Note, Those that would learn must see their need to be taught. The prophet must first own that he knows not what these are, and then the angel will tell him, Zec_4:13. (2.) He speaks as one very desirous to be taught, to have some one to guide him. Observe, He read the scripture, though there were many things in it which he did not understand. Though there are many things in the scriptures which are dark and hard to be understood, nay, which are often misunderstood, yet we must not therefore throw them by, but study them for the sake of those things that are easy, which is the likeliest way to come by degrees to the understanding of those things that are difficult: for knowledge and grace grow gradually. (3.) He invited Philip to come up and sit with him; not as Jehu took Jonadab into his chariot, to come and see his zeal for the Lord of hosts (2Ki_10:16), but rather, “Come, see my ignorance, and instruct me.” He will gladly do Philip the honour to take him into the coach with him, if Philip will do him the favour to expound a portion of scripture to him. Note, In order to our right understanding of the scripture, it is requisite we should have some one to guide us; some good books, and some good men, but, above all, the Spirit of grace, to lead us into all truth.”
So, Philip does as requested.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
The thing is, there is a simplicity to Philip’s ministry. First, Philip listened to the Spirit of the Lord. Second, he followed what he heard. Third, Philip listened to a man who is truly seeking G-d, and understanding. Finally, Philip preached Jesus.
Back to basics. Keeping it simple. People who truly seek, are saved. Praise the Lord.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .