As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. – Acts 8:36-40 NIV
Religion is man’s attempt to figure out the PATTERN OF GOD. Religion says if I do A, B and C, then God will approve of me. It is a way to CHECK THE BOXES, to mandate that God accepts us, it is to attempt to be GOODNUFF for God! I believe for this reason God does different things for different people, in different ways. Religion tells us that there is a list of DO’s and DON’TS, and If I do those things that I AM GOOD WITH GOD! Yet, Jesus always was concerned with the heart, not the outer shell. The Jews were the first to attempt this. Let’s take God’s instruction and script it, so that we do those things that God requests of us. So they took the one commandment of Sabbath rest and created a religion out of it, with hundreds of specific DO’s and DON’Ts. This is the reason for all the festivals, holidays, and Holy Days. Yet, God told Isaiah how he felt about that. And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”(Isaiah 29:13-14) The Message Bible puts it this way: “Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy.” (Matthew 15:8-9)
Leader, man had good intent to honor God, and to do what He wants us to do. You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. (Deuteronomy 5:32-33) In order to honor God, man figured we will just script out everything, and tell everybody how to do things, when to do things, for how long to do things, and what NOT to do. The problem is GOD WANTS OUR HEART, not just our hands and feet. If you read the Bible you will see different ways that God dealt with different people. God acted differently in similar situations and similarly in different situations. God is a God of suddenlies and a God of slowlies. Remember in John 11, when Jesus got word that Lazarus was dead, Jesus waited for three days before heading to deal with it. He purposely SLOWED DOWN. All throughout the Bible it talks about how God is in NO HURRY. He is called SLOW TO ANGER, Patient, Long suffering. Scripture is replete with God telling us He is in NO HURRY. Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8-9 support that thought: For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. We must get on the GOD CLOCK and off of our own schedule.
Conduit, however, our God is also a God of SUDDENLY, as in today’s verse. What happened to Philip is described by the Greek word harpazo (Strong’s #726), which is translated above as “suddenly took”. The other occasion this word is used by Luke is when Paul was in Jerusalem and the Jews accused him of speaking against their religion: “The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks” (Acts 23:10). Here harpazo is translated as “take by force”. In both cases someone is SUDDENLY moved away from where they were – it is as though someone has seized them. In the second case it was via means of the troops and in the first case it was via means of the Holy Spirit. There are many of these in the Bible. Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. (John 6:21) “But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap; (Luke 21:34 AMP) God is looking for people to commit to living life in the mode of “FATHER MAY I”. When we were kids we would play the FOLLOW game, ‘Mother, may I’. God is calling us to, ‘Father May I’. To not go to the LEFT or the RIGHT, but to stay on HIS NARROW PATH. It is our HEART that directs our hands and our feet! See Proverbs 4:23-27. We must get on the GOD TRACK- NOW. There are some suddenlies getting ready to take place like in Luke 21:34. 1 Corinthians 15:52; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. ‘Rhipe’ is the word for Twinkling: Strong’s 4493: From rhipto; a jerk, an instant. See also, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. There it is again; harpazo; Strong’s 726: To seize, snatch, obtain by robbery. Be in REAL TIME with God, walk in HIS SPIRIT and Remember, THE TIME IS NOW! Therefore encourage one another with these words. Look up- maranatha!