January 25: Spontaneous, Providential Relationships

Read Acts 8:25-40

Now that was a providential relationship that catalyzed a man’s faith!

Seat yourself in the Ethiopian’s chariot for a moment. Next to you is a high ranking official in the service of Ethiopia’s queen. He was the queen’s personal treasurer, perhaps even that for the entire nation. Perhaps he received for his work a healthy salary.

But, in spite of the high profile job and all that went along with it, something was missing in this man’s life. (You know, prestige and possessions just can’t fill the voids in our lives.) Though he was not likely a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he had apparently converted to Judaism. He was willing to travel long distances to Jerusalem in order to worship at the temple. And even now, on his return trip, on a desolate desert road, he was reading the Scriptures. It was a statement from Isaiah the prophet:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth” (Is. 53:7, 8).

It was all so confusing. Was Isaiah talking about himself? Someone else? If someone else, then whom?

Perhaps he was ready to place that into the mental file of “things I will never know” or of “things I need to ask a rabbi or priest next time I am in Jerusalem.” Instead, a man came along . . . on a desert road . . . right up to him . . . asking him if he understood. God providentially provided a person who could answer his question. Philip pointed him to Jesus. And, on that day, because of this God-given relationship, the Ethiopian came to faith in Christ!

Who have been the people that God has providentially positioned in your life to help you take significant strides of faith? While some of them may have been unplanned, others may have been ongoing and predictable. Regardless, recognize that God likely has other providential relationships waiting for you in order to push the gas pedal down on your growth!


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