The Value of An Individual
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. Acts 8:26
Note then the value of a single soul. It must have seemed very strange and dark to Philip that he should be summoned from his Samaritan work. The tide was with him; enthusiasm was heightening vast crowds were moved by the preaching of Christ crucified. It would have been hard to leave all that through sickness; it was doubly hard to do it when well and strong. Could no one else be found for that desert work? Was it right to leave the thousands in Samaria for the single chariot of a southern courtier? I am sure that Philip had many a thought like that, for he was a man of like passions with ourselves. Then gradually it would grow very clear to him that a single soul must be very dear to God. He would remember how the shepherd had left the ninety and nine that the one sheep in the desert might be found. From that hour on to the day he died, Philip held fast in all his work for Christ to the infinite worth, in the eyes of Christ, of one. We must never forget that in a busy city. Where God is, we are not lost in any crowd. We are separately precious and separately sought. In the love of Jesus we all stand alone. One by one we are found and led and humbled till the day break and the shadows flee away.
Disappointed in Jerusalem, the Courtier Did Not Quit
Again observe that the earnest do not despair when disappointed. There is something very noble in this courtier. There is a touch of true greatness in the man. In a heathen court and with everything against him, his life had grown into a great cry for God. Somehow, he had got his hands on the Old Testament. Never a Jewish trader came to Meroe but the chancellor had earnest converse with him until at last nothing would ease his heart but the resolve to journey to Jerusalem. The Temple was there, and the priests and scribes were there—would he not learn all that he craved for there? And now he is returning homeward, a weary, baffled, disappointed man. He had craved for bread— they had given him a stone. He had cried, like Luther when he first saw Rome, "Hail, Holy City"; and the holy city had brought no solace to him. How many a man, in such a disappointment, would have cast his Scripture to the winds of heaven? But the eunuch was of another mould than that. His was too great a heart to nurse despair. He must still seek; he must still read; he must still study. He was deep in Isaiah on that desert road. And it was in that hour when his journey seemed so useless and his hope was quenched and his heart was sick and weary— it was then that he stepped into the light of Christ. We must remember there are disappointments in all seeking. There come times when we all seem baffled in our quest. We are tempted to ask, What is the use of it? Is it worth while? Had we not better give in? We are often brought to the point of losing heart. In such moods recall the Ethiopian. He would still hold to it in spite of all failure. And on the day when everything seemed vain, the footsteps of the dawn were on the hills.
God Ordained What He Thought a Chance Meeting
Then lastly, God is behind many a chance meeting. I think that the driver of this Nubian chariot was not a little startled to see Philip; it was an unlikely place to light on any traveler. And when he got home to the stables of his master and told the story by the fire at night, all would agree that this accidental meeting had been one of the strange chances of the road. But we know that the meeting was not that. The hand of God had ordered and prepared it. It had been arranged for in the plans of heaven, though it seemed an accident to the dusky charioteer. We must believe that it is often so. Our friendships and comradeship's do not begin haphazard. We seem to be thrown across each other's path, but the hand of God has been ordering the way. Two people meet— we call the meeting chance. But life will be different evermore for both. It were well to strike out chance from our vocabulary, and in its place to put the will of God. (Devotional Sermons)
Note: This devotion brings to remembrance the days of turmoil in my own life, when my husband had divorced me, and all seemed to be over between us-but God spoke to me to believe Him for a reconciliation, and not give up on this man. I was amazed, and could not believe it-and asked how this could ever happen, and told God I didn't know if I even wanted a reconciliation. In my spirit I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit-"Trust Me, and keep praying. And, I'll ask you, what is the value to you, of one soul? My value of one soul, is the price of My Son, who died for him."
I kept praying, even when it seemed impossible-two years went by, and we were remarried; and it was my husband who came to me, and made the decision on his own. It was the hand of God.
My God, answers prayer.
WINNING A TRAVELER
From the great city revival in Samaria Philip was led to the desert to minister to one seeking soul. It seems strange that God should be able to spare him from his busy and fruitful ministry in Samaria; but probably the comparative retirement was needed for soul and body after the strain of that successful campaign. How certain these Spirit-filled men were of the heavenly impulse! Every appearance suggested that this man of God was needed in the city, but the inner voice was the deciding factor, and his journey was so timed as to bring him in contact with a soul that was groping its way toward Christ.
The Bible is good as a traveling companion. Take it on your journeys. Read it as other men do their newspapers; not exclusively but boldly. There are many stories afloat of bullets being stopped by pocket Testaments; and it is certain that many a desperate thrust of the devil has been warded off by the Word of God being hidden in the heart and worn as a breastplate. Live in touch with God, and He will put you in touch with souls. This conversion of a son of Ham was a worthy fulfillment of Isa_56:3-8. F.B. Meyer
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The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
But this is that which was spoken by the
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: