“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
It was hot, dry, and dusty. He was tired and may have wondered how he’d gotten to the lonely road. He’d been traveling and was weary. ‘Why” he thought, “did the angel tell me to come here?” Then, in the distance, he saw a cloud of dust appearing on the horizon along the road. He waited–listening, wondering.
Such may have been the musings of Philip, whose story we find in Acts 8. It is the story of his divine appointment on a desert road.
The angel had spoken to Philip and specifically told him to go to a certain road, which happened to be out in the desert. Philip did not argue or question the holy angel. He believed the message and went to the road without knowing why. When he arrived on the road, he noticed a chariot coming toward him carrying a foreign man. It was then that the Holy Spirit spoke. The voice said, “Go near and overtake the chariot,” Acts 8:29. Running up alongside the man’s chariot, Philip heard the man reading from Isaiah 53, found in the Old Testament. (It was common in those days to read out loud).
Having been sent to this particular road through a message from an angel, and to this particular man by the voice of the Holy Spirit, no doubt Philip’s faith must have grown strong at this point. Philip asked the man if he wanted to understand what he was reading from the Old Testament. The man invited him into the chariot (it would have been large and expensive; this man was obviously someone important.) Philip explained that the reading in Isaiah was a prophecy about Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He then explained the way of salvation through Jesus Christ to the man. After believing what Philip shared with him and declaring his faith in Jesus Christ, the man then noticed a body of water along the road and asked Philip to baptize him. He commanded the chariot to be stopped next to the water, where he was baptized. The text then states that the Holy Spirit physically carried Philip away from that place to another town. He is mentioned again, some twenty years later, in Acts 21, where he is referred to as Philip the Evangelist.
The salvation and baptism of the man whom Philip encountered on the desert road occurred because Philip was sensitive to the supernatural leading of both a holy angel and the Holy Spirit. Philip had obeyed God’s first leading in a simple act of faith. His obedience to the first direction he’d received positioned him to be used by God in a mighty way. A man’s eternal destiny was changed as a result of Philip’s obedience to God’s leading. Simple, child-like faith, followed by obedience, led Philip to be in the right place at the right time in order to lead a man to faith in Jesus Christ. Although Philip could not have understood it at the time, his obedience that day led to the opening of the nation of Ethiopia to the Gospel. The man in the chariot was a key government official in the Queen’s court in that nation. Philip was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit and who was eager to hear and obey God’s voice.
How about you? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and have been filled with his Holy Spirit, you can learn to hear and follow his leading like Philip did. Maybe God has a divine appointment waiting for you? Ask him in prayer, then listen, and he is sure to answer!