Family Devotional Guide – January 24
Becky Doubleday   -  

Have you ever read the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8? It is remarkable! Here is a man traveling with his caravan of people from Ethiopia to Jerusalem because he is searching for the truth! This was no small journey. In fact, Ethiopia to Jerusalem was over 1500 miles. That is the same distance as Ankeny to Los Angeles, CA.

The Ethiopian has power and money, but that is not filling the God-sized hole in his heart. He wants more! Well, God, Who sees all and knows all, has just the man for the task, Philip! He instructs Philip, who is led by the Spirit, to go to the middle of nowhere. The assignment to us seems illogical, but Philip obeys at once!

When he arrives, what does he find? You guessed it, an Ethiopian man reading from the book of Isaiah, specifically, chapter 53:7,8. It all begins with Philip asking a simple question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” From there, Philip has the opportunity to share with this man the gospel; the man accepts Jesus and is baptized on the spot. After Philip departs, the text says that the Ethiopian man “went on his way rejoicing…” Most likely taking the gospel back to his homeland!

There are a few short lessons we can learn from this story in scripture! As a family or a couple, discuss these and pray that God would help you live them out!

  1. God rewards those who seek Him with all of their hearts.
    This man was deeply hungry for truth. This was demonstrated by how far he traveled and how quickly he obeyed! Jeremiah 29:13 states, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” God makes himself available to all, but only those who leave behind all otherworldly treasures will find the greatest Treasure of all. Do you like God? Or do you love God? Because the answer to that question could make an eternal difference.
  2. There are no coincidences in the economy of God
    In this passage of Acts 8, many little things had to happen perfectly for it all to come together. Philip had to travel to a new road in the middle of nowhere at the hottest point in the day. The Ethiopian had to of traveled over 1500 miles out of his way, away from his home. He had to of been reading that exact portion of Isaiah, and Philip, being led by the Spirit, had to of asked those exact questions. My point? The fingerprints of God were all over this story. In fact, it is not just this story; it is your story too! God is in control of your life and is putting just the right people at just the right time along those “middle of nowhere” roads that we all travel. My question is, are we prayerfully walking through life, understanding that we are God’s agents of change to a world that needs the gospel? If the answer is no, take heart; as Warren Wiersbe says, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.” Let’s begin again!
  3. Salvation in Jesus gives abundant life-giving joy
    We must take note of two things that happened to the Ethiopian Eunuch that gave him great “rejoicing.” The first was his conversion. When he accepted Jesus as his Savior, he for the first time understood that the sins of his past, present, and future were forgiven. If all that we as believers had ever been given by God were Jesus, we would be forever indebted. Because of Christ, our chains are gone! We are free! In a world that constantly encourages a consumer mentality filled with greed and entitlement, we must keep at the front of our minds that on our best days we deserve hell “…but God who is rich in mercy…” gave us His son Jesus! Let us rejoice in that truth!
    Secondly, and finally, the Ethiopian had great joy because his sins were forgiven, yes, but I believe he also had great joy because he took the next step to obey! Perhaps in our ignorance, we believe God isn’t a good Father. He only demands things of us that rob us of joy because he is a possessive control freak. God forgive us for believing this lie. God demands our obedience but only because He, being Sovereign, knows where real joy is ultimately found! And that joy is found in Jesus Christ and obedience to God’s Word! If you want to experience the joy of God, we must obey the Word of God!

This Week’s Sermon-Based Recommended Readings

Monday: James 1:1-11
Tuesday: James 1:12-18
Wednesday: James 1:19-27
Thursday: Acts 8:25-32
Friday: Acts 8:33-40
Saturday: Make-up Reading Day