“. . . had come to Jerusalem to worship,” Acts 8:27
This is the story of the Ethiopian man who had been to Jerusalem to worship. We might not think much about the fact that he had gone to Jerusalem to worship, after all, it was a place of worship and thousands of people had journeyed there to do the exact same thing. Except for the distance.
The capital of Queen Candace was 1200 miles away from Jerusalem. The wonder of the journey was what lay between Ethiopia and the city of worship. Ethiopia was located in Africa, south of Egypt – the most religious city of its day. Its temples spread their unbroken splendor across the sunny provinces. The roofs gleaming in the sun, the gorgeous rituals, elaborate processions, all of it drew the focus from all across the region.
Egypt was the most visible religion that ever tempted the desire of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. There were subtler attractions beyond the crowded streets and parade of idols. Egypt took the thinker by the hand, appealed to the intellect by producing literature honoring the vast exaltation of knowledge.
How is it the Ethiopian man passed by all the grandeur of Egypt, all the riches and all the treasure it had to offer, to travel 1200 miles to a region of the little tribe of Judah? The answer lies in a single book. This book is the Old Testament.
Commended to us by Jesus as the revelation of God, it is a collection of histories, laws, psalms and prophecies all from various ages, far away centuries. All are connected by one idea – a covenant between God and His people. His word is verbally accurate and infallibly true and uncompromising in spirit. But reliability of scripture was not the focus of the Ethiopian man.
The 1200 mile journey through the seductions of possessions, promises, and power of a pagan land cannot stand in the way of anyone in search of the living God. Especially if they have an insatiable desire for a relationship with God, His character, power, love, and are unwilling to settle for substitutes.
What distance are you willing to go to know God? Is your faith unstoppable?