Travel by the Spirit – Acts 8:39

God Is Sovereign And May Take You Where You Need To Be

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Virtually Vanished

Twice in the Bible, an interesting method of travel is mentioned by God concerning His people.  The first appearance of this is in 1 Kings 18:12 when Obadiah, a faithful servant of the Lord, is told by Elijah to announce to King Ahaz that he can be found where he stood.  Obadiah’s response is interesting:

11 “But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth.”

Obadiah is very concerned that Elijah won’t be there when Ahaz comes to take him away.  But there is a sense of the suddenness of Elijah’s departure that is interesting.  After all, Elijah on foot could only go so far.  King Ahaz’s men should surely be able to find him.  Yet Obadiah was concerned that the Spirit of the Lord would carry him off somewhere, implying that it would be very far away, and that no one would be able to find him.  We see the very exact same situation documented in Acts 8:39 where the Spirit of the Lord seizes (hErpasen, from the root word harpazo, from the same root word used to describe the effects of the taking of disciples during the rapture) Philip from the Ethiopian to be somewhere else.

This is amazing!  In God’s sovereign timing and will, prophets of old would be hErpasen by the Holy Spirit and taken where God wanted and needed them to be!  Who needs airplanes, cars, boats, rocket ships, or “Star Trek style” transporters when the Holy Spirit of God provides this as He desires?

Amazing Appearance

But while the seizing of someone was amazing, the appearing of someone was just as amazing.  In several scriptures we are shown where, suddenly, people appeared from nowhere.  They were most likely hErpasen by the Spirit of God and placed where they needed to be.  Acts 8:40 seems to indicate this:

Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

This method of transportation appears to be used when it is needed, rather than all of the time.  When Peter was chained in prison, an angel of the Lord freed him, walked him out of the prison, and sent him on his way.  God could easily have hErpasen him to where He wanted Peter to be, but chose an angel to free him instead.

Other instances of people suddenly appearing include, but are not limited to:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Tremendous Timing

In each case, it was the sovereign will of God in His timing that each of the people appeared where they needed to be, when they needed to be there.  God’s timing in His word is impeccable, and further confirms that He is sovereign by showing that everything that He says will come about does come about exactly when it is supposed to happen.

God’s timing is crucial in every aspect of life.  There are times when a delay in our day seems like Satan is trying to impede our progress.  If you believe this, seek out and find all of the people who found themselves delayed on September 11, 2oo1 2001 as they were headed to their jobs at the Twin Towers in New York City.  God spared each and every one of them.  God’s warnings and discipline are timed exactly when they need to occur in order to get the job done right.

God’s blessing and provision are also timed exactly right to ensure that God receives the maximum glory and honor that He so richly deserves.  And God’s timing, in the act of taking people from one place and (with an apparent instantaneous action of) moving people from to another place, fulfills His plan to ensure that every resource that He has available is being used to their fullest capacity while giving God the maximum glory.

Forever Faithful

Our God is an amazing God.  He does things that seem impossible, but for Him, are not only possible but done to increase our faith and our effectiveness.  We can be assured that God is faithful in all that He does, and that no one can thwart His plans, no matter how egregious the enemy rages against God.  In the end, God is the one who will ensure that everything that He has planned in His heart will come to fruition.  Nothing on Earth, under the Earth, or in the heavens above are able to keep The Lord God Almighty from being faithful to His word, His plan, and His people.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I willing to be used by God in such a way that I would accept, without reservation, if He suddenly seized me and placed me elsewhere?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are a most glorious and wonderful God.  There is none like You.  Thank You for Your faithfulness in all things.  Give my heart encouragement that no one and nothing can stop You in executing Your perfect will in Your perfect plan.  Help me to accept my circumstances as being sovereignly permitted by You for Your will and my sanctification.  Give me encouragement as I see the enemy do everything in his power to try to thwart Your plans.  And help me to humbly rest in joy as I watch You exert Your sovereign will in all of these things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

 

 

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