The Ethiopian Eunuch Accepting the Gospel – Reflection on Act 8:26-38

Seeing this picture, I can’t help but think of a record in the Bible, “And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand you what you read? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Act 8:26-38). These verses record the process of the Ethiopian eunuch accepting the gospel of the Lord Jesus. We all know that he was of high status and of honorable reputation at the time, and moreover, he was a religious Christian. While he was on the way home after performing his worship at Jerusalem, he met Philip. When Philip asked him whether he understood the verses he had read, he was not full of himself because of his own status or his Bible knowledge, nor was he self-conceited; instead, he let go of his status and position, seeking from Philip humbly. When Philip preached the work of the Lord Jesus to him, he didn’t hold on to his notions in resisting and condemning it. Rather, he, maintaining a heart of pure obedience, accepted the Lord Jesus’ work. From this, we can see that regarding how to believe in God, the Ethiopian eunuch yearned for the truth, and in order to understand the truth, he was willing to humble himself. Ultimately, he gained the salvation of the Lord Jesus because he had an attitude that sought for the truth. Think back to those Pharisees who followed the laws at that time. Even though they knew the Bible backward and forward, and had traveled over land and sea to spread the laws of Jehovah, nevertheless when it came to the new work done by the Lord Jesus, they intentionally closed themselves, stubbornly clung to their notions and imaginations and didn’t search for the truth at all. To protect their status and livelihood, they did their absolute utmost to oppose and condemn the work of the Lord Jesus. Eventually, they colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, which caused them to be cursed and punished by God. In this, we see that as man prepares for the coming of the Lord, different attitudes bring about different ends. Now the last days have arrived. The Lord Jesus has promised that He will come again. Besides, it is prophesied in Revelation, “And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev 14:6). This shows us that when the Lord comes again, the everlasting gospel will be preached to people on earth. Therefore, we must be awake and waiting. If someone spreads and testifies to the work and words of the Lord Jesus at His return, we should emulate the Ethiopian eunuch and be the ones who seek the truth humbly. Only in this way can we obtain the salvation of the last days and feast with the Lord. Just as the Bible prophesies, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Mat 5:6). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:3). No matter how high or low our status is, or how long we have believed in God, as long as we let go of our religious conceptions and are willing to seek the truth humbly, we can receive God’s enlightenment and leading, follow His footsteps and gain His salvation in the last days.   » Read more on our Bible Study Topics page, or click on the related articles below: • What Are the Lord’s Intentions Behind the Parable of the Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep? • What Should We Do When We Face Trials? Learn From the Story of Job • Daily Reading: The Samaritan Woman’s Wisdom

Adam and Eve

God’s First Commandment for Mankind is Full of Concern – Reflection on Genesis 2:15-17

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat there of you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17) Before, I often read this verse in the Bible and could even recite it. However, I just regarded it as God’s emotionless commandment for man. I had never appreciated God’s concern and love for man from this simple word, nor had I cared for God’s heart. It lasted until one day when I saw Almighty God’s words: “After hearing this passage concerning ‘God’s commandment for Adam,’ what do you understand? What feeling does this passage give you? Why has this passage concerning ‘God’s commandment for Adam’ been extracted? Do you each have a picture of God and Adam in your heart? You can imagine that. If you were personally on the scene, what kind of God would you think God is in your heart? What feeling does this picture give you? It is a touching and warm picture. Although there is only God and man in it, the close relationship between them is so admirable: God’s love overflows, freely bestowed on man and surrounding man; man, innocent and pure and free from cares and anxieties, lives under God’s eyes happily; God is concerned about man, and man lives under the protection and blessing of God, and what man does and man’s every word and deed are all closely related to God and cannot be independent from God. It can be said that this was God’s first commandment for man since the creation of mankind. What was there in this commandment? There was God’s will and his worry about mankind in it. It was God’s first commandment and was also God’s first worry about mankind. That is to say, from the moment God created mankind, God had the responsibility for mankind. What was his responsibility? He was to protect man, and he was to watch over man. He hoped that man would believe and obey what he said. This was also God’s first expectation for mankind. With this expectation, God then spoke such a word: ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.’ This simple word represented God’s will, and it also showed that God’s heart was beginning to be concerned about man. Because among all things, only Adam was made in God’s image, only Adam was a living being with God’s breath, and he could walk with God and talk with God, therefore God gave him such a commandment. In this commandment, there was what man could do and what man could not do, which God said very clearly. From these simple words, we have seen God’s heart. What kind of heart is it? In God’s heart, is there love? Is there concern? God’s love and concern not only can be sensed by man, but can even more be really and truly touched by man in this passage. Isn’t that so? After I have said this, do you feel these few words simple? They are not simple, right? Could you see this before? If God says to you a few such words personally, how will you feel in your heart? If you are one devoid of humanity and your heart is ice-cold, you will have no feeling and will not realize God’s love or try to understand God’s heart; if you are one who has conscience and humanity, your feeling will be different, and you will feel warm, feel cared, feel loved, and feel blissful. Isn’t that so? When you feel these, how will you treat God? Won’t you be attached to God? Won’t you have reverence and love for God in your heart? Won’t your heart draw near to God? This shows how important God’s love for man is! And it is even more important that man can feel and understand God’s love!” Actually, God’s commandment for Adam is not just one simple word. Rather, it contains God’s infinite concern, love, and expectation for man. If God hadn’t been incarnated again to speak the words and express what He has and is, we wouldn’t have understood the implications of this verse, much less felt God’s will and God’s true keeping and protection to man. When pondering this passage of words carefully, I deeply feel it is God’s uplifting and deep love for man, and it contains God’s expectation of man. It’s so big a blessing that we, created beings, can accept God’s personal leading and know Him. How can we miss it? Today, God expresses His words to supply and lead us, from which we taste how deep and important God’s love for man is. I also see God’s sincere heart to man, and I feel the warmth and concern from God time after time. As Almighty God says, “God’s love overflows, freely bestowed on man and surrounding man; man, innocent and pure and free from cares and anxieties, lives under God’s eyes happily; God is concerned about man, and man lives under the protection and blessing of God, and what man does and man’s every word and deed are all closely related to God and cannot be independent from God.” From God’s words, I not only see that God’s love and concern can’t be replaced by anyone because only the Creator has such substance, but I even more sense the beauty and kindness of God’s heart. God does not command man to do such and such to repay His love; He just hopes that man can understand His will, obey His commandment, draw near to Him and be attached to Him….“This shows how important…

Bible,Jonah

Know God’s Disposition From Jonah Being Swallowed by Fish – Reflection on Jonah

One day when I was browsing through pictures of the Bible, my eyes were drawn to a picture of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish in the sea. Then I opened the Book of Jonah in the Bible and read the following verses, “Now the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah. But Jehovah sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. … And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. … So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. … Now Jehovah had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:1-4, 7, 15, 17). “Then Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly…. And Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land” (Jonah 2:1, 10). “And the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching that I bid you. So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:1-4). After reading these scriptures, I thought: Why did Jonah refuse the Jehovah’s commission? Why didn’t he listen to God? I was very puzzled about these questions. One day at a meeting, I mentioned my confusion about Jonah refusing Jehovah’s commission. Then a brother fellowshiped, “When Jehovah God spoke to Jonah and commanded him to go to Nineveh, that great city, to convey His words, Jonah didn’t want to go because the people of Nineveh were Gentiles, not worshiping Jehovah God, and even opposing Him. He thought God should directly destroy them, and there was no need to convey God’s word. So, Jonah didn’t do as Jehovah instructed. Then calamities befell Jonah due to his disobedience. When the word of Jehovah God came to Jonah the second time, he didn’t dare to refuse. But at that time, Jonah’s attitude was that God would definitely destroy them, so he thought there was no need to say much. Therefore, Jonah only conveyed one sentence, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ From the simple way Jonah conveyed God’s words, we can see that Jonah went to Nineveh not out of compassion for Ninevites but as a mere formality. If Jonah had conveyed God’s words to the Israelites, he would have definitely tried harder to save them because the Israelites believed in God and they were God’s chosen people. But he just conveyed God’s words to them as briefly as possible. From Jonah’s behavior, we can see that he did not fear God. He was not mindful of God’s intentions and did not understand God’s will of saving man, relying on his self-will to do what God had entrusted to him. Jonah did not know God would still give people a second chance to repent when He decided to emit His wrath and that He cannot bear to destroy the human beings He created with His own hands and He hopes that people will repent when they come face to face with their own corruption and rebellion. However, Jonah neither understood God’s will, nor did he comprehend God’s earnest intentions. Moreover, he did not know that there is mercy in God’s righteous disposition, so he defined God’s work. Then Jonah found a place to make himself a booth for shade and sat under it to watch with gratification as God destroyed Nineveh, that great city. Jonah thought Jehovah God would definitely destroy Nineveh, but unexpectedly, God changed His attitude toward them and averted His wrath due to their true repentance, bestowing compassion and tolerance upon them. It is evident that Jonah did not have a God-fearing heart and defined God according to his own notions and imagination. For a man who fears God, when he cannot understand something or God’s actions don’t conform to his conception, he will think: Everything God does is right and there are always principles to God’s actions; we men are stupid and ignorant, incapable of penetrating the spiritual realm, and we mortal beings cannot know God. He has no conceptions or misunderstandings about God, so he can keep in his heart an obedience to God when dealing with each of God’s actions. Therefore, he will shun evil and not judge and resist God.” After listening to the brother’s fellowship, I suddenly saw the light. It was because Jonah did not have a God-fearing heart that he refused God’s commission. He judged and defined God’s work and did what God entrusted based upon his own notions and imaginations. He thought that the Ninevites are Gentiles, not the Israelites, not God’s chosen people, and there was no point in informing them to repent. God should immediately destroy them. Therefore, he refused God’s commission, which resulted in his being swallowed by the fish, in whose belly he spent three days and nights. From Jonah’s attitude toward God’s commission we can see God’s tolerance for us humans. Even though Jonah rebelled against…

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