Thursday, February 23, 2012

Acts 7:23-29

Summary retelling of Acts 7: 23-29:

Stephen now talks about how God worked through Moses (and we’ll stick with Moses for a few days).  Moses comes to his people and tries to spare a Hebrew who is getting beaten.  He ends up killing an Egyptian.  His own people now fear him when he tries to be a mediator between them – assuming that if they disagree with Moses that Moses will just try to kill them, too.  They reject his leadership.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
My first thought is likely going to be a continual “first thought” that is applicable for every day until we finish Acts 7:50.  So I’m going to keep it as a running commentary until we get to verse 50.

Stephen continues to demonstrate mastery over his religious heritage. 
  • Day one we see that Stephen was familiar enough with Abraham. 
  • Day two we see that Stephen is familiar enough with Joseph.
  • Day three we see Stephen is familiar with Moses’ birth and the persecution of the Hebrew people in Egypt.
  • Day four we hear how Moses interacts with his people and the initial failure he has.

Why is it important to realize how important it is that Stephen knows his religious history?  What does knowing the religious history allow Stephen to accomplish?  Do you know the religious history of the Old and New Testaments?  If yes, how can/do you use it?  If no, how can you learn it?

Second Thought:
In order to set up God working through Moses in the latter portions of his speech, Stephen now spends some time showing how Moses begins.  Moses presumes that God has given his people salvation through him, yet it is really Moses who is working through Moses.  God doesn’t ask Moses to kill the Egyptian.  Moses’ humanity, rage, and anger does that much.  Stephen is clear that Moses made the assumption that God was using him, but really it was Moses trying to accomplish his own agenda and trying to make it feel like it was actually God.

How often are we guilty of doing this?  We presume we know the mind of God so we step up and act without actually putting in the time to discern individually and communally?  How does this question really help to illustrate the importance of communal Bible Study, communal prayer, communal service, communal … well, communal life?

Third Thought:
The people reject Moses’ leadership.  Now, we could very easily say that they reject him because he wasn’t actually following God’s lead at this point.  And that would actually be correct.  But the reality is that we know that even when Moses does come back and lead them according to God’s ways they still are quite rebellious and reject his leadership quite often.  People naturally reject leadership, especially leadership that has a tendency to expect them to follow God’s leading rather than doing the will of the people.  We as human beings want to be kings and queens of our own life.  This is the essence of spirituality.  We can only be spiritual when we begin the journey humbly.

Are you very humble with respect to looking at your future?  Do you have your own plans – or do you spend more time trying to figure out God’s plans?  How is this going to affect whether or not you are really humble with respect to God and the leaders that God puts in your midst?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7:30-34
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