Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Acts 7:47-50

Summary retelling of Acts 7: 47-50:

Stephen at last reminds us that it is Solomon who builds the Temple of the Lord.  Yet, Stephen now makes the boldest claim that he has ever made: God does not live in buildings.  God made the whole of creation and the whole of creation is His dwelling.  Stephen quotes Isaiah 66:1-2.

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
  • Day seven we hear about the Golden calf incident and the continued rebellion of the Hebrew people
  • Day eight we hear about the tabernacle and the conquest of the Promised Land
  • Day nine we hear about Solomon building the Temple and God’s place on earth

 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:
When we think God dwells in buildings, we confine God to “our box.”  When we think about God dwelling our “ministries” we confine God to our box.  Yes, God is in our buildings (Lord willing, of course!).  And yes, God is in our ministries (Lord willing, of course!).  But God is in you.  He is in me.  He is in all of His creation.  The building and our “Christian stuff” is holy because He is present, not the other way around.  He doesn’t bless it because it is good and holy; it is good and holy because it is blessed through His presence.

While I know that you know to think that things are blessed because God is present, how easy is it to think that God comes and is present because of the good job we have done at making something great?  How does this lead to idolatry when we think it is leading to God?

Third Thought:
The quote from Isaiah is a powerful one.  It is God who has created everything under the sun.

Why do we think we can create things that please God?  In fact, why do we think we can create at all?  Is it not more important to pursue what God desires to create through us than to think that we can create something?  Why do we think we can be so clever as to create something that God hasn’t thought about doing that way?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7:51-53
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