In both of these readings for today the main character has several encounters along their journey. These two journeys are very similar and at the same time complex. In I Samuel, Saul is on a journey to find himself as a king. In Acts, Philip is on a journey to relate Jesus as the risen Christ. Both Saul and Phillip are guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is mentoring and guiding each of them on how to approach each situation that they come in contact with. Each individual at this point in their lives gives complete control over to the Holy Spirit as their guide and does not allow their human intentions to cloud their judgment or to cloud their mission. In each of the journey’s they have: Encouragement, Adversity, and Resolution.
In both of these journeys, each individual at the beginning of the journey is encouraged. Saul, the future King, is encouraged about the loss of his donkeys and the potential of amazing blessings that God has in store for him if he follows the guidelines and requirements. Philip is escaping persecution from Saul (soon to be converted to Paul) and working to expand the new religion in the church of Christ. In The Old Testament, Saul is encouraged by Samuel and by the individuals who are taking the food to the celebration. For Philip, he is encouraged by speaking the gospel to the individuals.
Each individual has some type of adversity that is presented to them along their journey. Saul’s adversity is not a completely direct adversity, but we see in his response to his uncle when he returns from the search for the donkeys. Lets see this as an example, when you were given a gift sometimes you cannot explain everything to everyone. Sometimes when you’re giving gifts, you have to use discretion when disclosing the blessings to individuals. Sometimes others can be jealous of the blessings and may have malicious intent for you. So in the midst of your gifts and your blessings, we have to be on guard and listen to the Spirit to show others how we can present our blessings.
Philip’s adversity is seen through Simon, the magician. Simon was for himself. Simon was trying to get the best of the best. He was not thinking about the bigger picture, but how he can be seen as powerful. After Philip met Simon met, Simon was baptized. The act of baptism could have created an existential change in Simon, but Simon did not not really change. This part of the adversary shows that some people may change on the outside, but not fully change inside.
This encounter also shows that Peter and John when presented with Simon, were not hesitant to call out Simon for his selfishness. So as we are going on our journey, we have to be aware of the ones who may change on the outside, but not change on the inside. We have to be vigilant of the adversaries that will be with us, but not for us. We must ask the Holy Spirit to continue to strengthen us as we grow continuously in our journey.
In both of these journeys, at the end of the journey, there’s a beautiful resolution that is marked by blessings. For Saul after he has followed the directions of Samuel, he is blessed as the king. Saul listens. Saul follows directions. Saul is under the Spirit. When we submit and allowed to be honored by the Spirit, we can do amazing things.
Philip also listens to the angel and the Spirit to see how to go forward. Philip listens. Phillip follows. Phillip grows. There are very few occurrences in the Bible, where the Spirit takes people away, and Philip is one of those individuals where the Spirit takes him to another place. It’s because of the connection and the relationship between these two individuals, Saul, the first king of Israel, and Philip, one of the first missionaries, that we can see the Spirit moving and growing and individuals who didn’t know that they were going to make an impact on the world.
In all these journeys, we have to understand that there is going to be encouragement, adversity, and resolution. These can be seen in our everyday life. We have to continue to grow and mature our relationship with God and with the spirit so that we can see God’s work in us.
What will the week have ahead for us? We will be in our journey this week? Can we see the encouragement, the adversity, and the resolution in all of our Works?