Stephen stresses to his audience that Israel did not reject Moses only once. Even after God used him to free them, empowered him to work miracles, and met with him on Mount Sinai, they still didn’t listen. “Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him’”(Acts 7:39-40). The disloyalty is staggering. While Moses was still meeting with God on the mountain (at their request!), they threw him under the bus, turned to idolatry, and wanted to go back to Egypt. Even slavery would be preferable to following Moses!
Stephen also links their rejection of God’s messenger to their worship of idols. What began as worshiping a golden calf instead of following God did not stop there. “But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:…’You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon’”(Acts 7:42-43). Stephen wants the Jewish leaders to know that Israel has always had the problem of not wanting to listen to God and his messengers—and that this is equivalent to creating their own gods.
I am drawn to Stephen’s phrase “in their hearts they turned to Egypt.” All of their responses to Moses are summed up by this statement about their motivations. The road to Canaan was desert—no food, no water, no people. It seemed easier for them to go back to slavery than to walk through difficulty by faith. It is a chilling reminder that there is comfort in slavery—and that we might choose to willingly walk back to it, spurning God all the way.
One thing to think about: How have I seen God’s word reveal my true motives and desires?
One thing to pray for: A heart to follow God—even through difficulty—to the promised land
This message was sent to: from
Fairview Park church of Christ, 11820 Fairview Road, Little Rock, AR 72212
If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter click to unsubscribe. Modify your Subscription