Some people call this “coincidence” (definition: a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection; apparently just random happenings). But, truthfully, there is no such thing as coincidence when our lives are lovingly and carefully DIRECTED by ALMIGHTY GOD!
Because God loves us and is intimately concerned with even the smallest details of our lives, God directs our lives by His Holy Spirit, through His word, and even through people, places and circumstances that seem unpredictable or unexpected to us. Romans 8:28 reminds us that, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” He is just waiting for us to acknowledge His presence and to follow His lead.
In our passage today, we see that when God’s direction can involve some surprisingly supernatural methods such as angelic visitation and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. But, this ought not surprise us as God has already supernaturally communicated His love and His plans through the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus! God can and will use any means necessary to reach those He loves, including directing an apparent unknown to make His purposes known. God chose Philip, a quite tradesman who served meals to widows in his spare time over more prominent early church leaders such as Paul or Peter. It’s inspiring to note that God choses to direct His plans through ordinary people like you and I. As Oswald Chambers puts, it “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose that God has given them.”
Speaking of purpose, it was no ‘coincidence’ Philip would end up in just enough time, on just the right road, at the exact moment necessary to intersect the Ethiopian eunuch. This man’s physical limitation as a eunuch prevented him from entering into the temple at Jerusalem to worship…but his heart was already being directed by the Holy Spirit to seek God. We see that the Ethiopian was reading aloud the words of Isaiah 53:7-8, detailing the sacrificial death of our Savior Jesus! God’s plans include even the marginalized or overlooked in our world – His plans are always redemptive. Philip did not come with a pre-planned commentary, he just simply followed God’s divine direction and was able to explain the good news of the gospel to this travelling treasurer. Mission accomplished!
Our story ends with Philip having the privilege of baptizing the Ethiopian, another DIVINE DIRECTIVE of God. Since there were no known Christian converts in Ethiopia at the time, who would have baptized the Ethiopian when he arrived home? God made sure this man’s faith was affirmed and later the Ethiopian was instrumental in sharing the gospel back in Ethiopia.
Summing it up… God is not limited by our experiences, expertise or expectations. He wants to transform the world through people willing to have their steps guided by His Word and be supernaturally directed by the Holy Spirit. May we all be inspired to be like Philip… ready and willing to follow God’s divine direction. After all, its all for HIS GLORY that we live and breath and have our being (Acts 17:28).