“When God invites us into the desert, obedience is the first and foundational step.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 30, 2021
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” Acts 8:26-29, ESV
In Scripture, both literally and figuratively, deserts are places of death and despair. As the people of God said to Moses, “Did you bring us out here to die?” (Exodus 14:11). A desert lacks not only water and food, but cities and towns in which people learn to thrive as a community, offering one another safety and sustenance. The wilderness, by comparison, is harsh and unforgiving, demanding great sacrifice from all who enter it. And yet, from the great Exodus to Christ’s temptation, we also see the desert as a place of spiritual battle, one in which evil is confronted and God is encountered in a new way.
When God invites us into the desert, obedience is the first and foundational step. He does not drive us or force us, but instead invites us to follow him there, trusting that in his goodness he would not lead us simply to leave us desolate and desperate. And yet, when we choose to remain in our places of comfort and perceived safety, we so often miss the invitation to be used by God and caught up in the great story of redemption he is telling.
I think of this when I reflect upon Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. An angel of the Lord tells him to rise and go to “a desert place.” Here, Philip is presented with a choice to obey or to ignore this invitation. In his obedience, as he rose and went, he found himself used by God in a mighty way to point someone to Christ! The eunuch was searching and longing to know the meaning of Scripture, and Philip was used by God to point this man to the truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
Today, you may face a difficult invitation or opportunity, one that invites you out of places of comfort and into the unknown of the desert. It is understandable to be hesitant and apprehensive. And yet, if we have eyes to see it, might it be that an opportunity awaits us in a place of seeming desolation and destruction? Could it be that the Lord is already in that place, and longs for you to go to someone in the desert who is lost and help them find their way home?
Father, remind us that you meet us in the desert and invite us into your work of restoration and renewal, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What invitation has the Lord placed before you that requires a courageous step of obedience?
Jon Guerra: Tightrope
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