Saturday, February 25, 2012

Acts 7:35-38

Summary retelling of Acts 7: 35-38:

Again Stephen brings in the idea that God’s redeemers are rejected by the people that God wants to save.  Stephen reminds us that Moses did miracles in the presence of the Hebrew people in Egypt as well as while they wandered through the desert.  Stephen reminds the Sanhedrin that Moses told the Hebrew people around them that God will raise up from out of them another savior – a savior greater than him!  And of course, Stephen reminds the Sanhedrin that it was Moses to whom God gave the law as a living document for the Hebrew people to hear and follow – a law which pointed them to their need for a Messiah.

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.
  • Day five we hear the burning bush incident retold and God’s calling for Moses.
  • Day six we hear a brief summary of the exodus story and how Moses did miraculous things with the people in the wilderness

Why is it important to realize 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:
Again we return to this concept that the very people God wants to save are the ones who reject the person that He sends into their midst.  The people rejected Moses when he was acting upon his own will, but they continue to reject Moses even as he acts upon God’s will here.  In spite of all the great and tremendous things that Moses does among them, they still continue to reject him.  They want to do things their own way and do things that benefit themselves.  In a sense, their motto was: “If we didn’t think of it and we can’t see how it will give us the maximum benefit with the minimum effort, we’re not interested.”

Are you quick to judge the people God sends into your midst?  Have you ever caught yourself saying, “That’s too hard, I won’t even give it a try” when really it is what God wants?  Why are we so prone to reject God in favor of the desires of our own heart?

Third Thought:
Stephen doesn’t spend much time directly talking about the giving of the Law – but he does use a few very significant words to describe the process of Moses receiving the Law.  He calls that process “receiving living oracles.”  The word “receiving” is important because it shows that it came from God, not Moses.  The word “oracle” is important because it tells us that the Law is considered a document full of profound wisdom and warnings.  The word “living” is important because it reminds us that the Law always has a message – we can never learn everything that it could possibly have to tell us.  But perhaps most importantly, we need to remember that it is the Law (and our inability to live up to it) that gives us knowledge of how desperately we need Jesus Christ.

So how much do you need Christ?  Does your response towards God reflect how much you need Him to save you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7:39-43
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