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You Stiff-necked People!

January 18, 2017

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You Stiff-necked People!

History is important  —  we do well  to learn  from it.     Chapters 6 and 7  of the book of Acts give us a peek  into the life  of Stephen,  a church worker  and martyr  for preaching God’s truths.     Acts tells how Stephen helped manage  the work  of caring  for the poor  and how he was  a powerful preacher.     That’s what got him  into trouble  with the Jewish religious leaders.

They seized Stephen  and took him  to their court,  accusing him  of speaking against  God’s law.     Acts,  chapter 7 records Stephen’s reply.     He gave a summary  of the Israelite’s history,  including accounts of Abraham,  Isaac,  Jacob,  Joseph,  and Moses,  along with some Old Testament scripture verses.

That would have been fine,  except that Stephen also mentioned  how the Israelites  often disobeyed God  by worshiping  idols.     In Acts 7:42-43,  Stephen recounted Israel’s history  by saying,

But God turned away  from them  and gave them over  to the worship  of the sun,  moon  and stars.     This agrees  with what is written  in the book  of the prophets:

‘Did you bring Me sacrifices  and offerings
forty years  in the wilderness,  people  of Israel?
you have taken up  the tabernacle  of Molek
and the star  of your god Rephan,
the idols you made  to worship.
Therefore  I will send you  into exile  beyond Babylon.

Stephen recounted more history  and then said in Acts 7:51-53,

“You stiff-necked people!      Your hearts  and ears  are still uncircumcised.      You are just like your ancestors:  You always resist the Holy Spirit!      Was there ever a prophet  your ancestors  did not persecute?      They even killed those  who predicted the coming  of the Righteous One.      And now  you have betrayed  and murdered him  — you who have received the law  that was given  through angels  but have not obeyed it.”

That truth  made the religious leaders so angry  they stoned Stephan  to death.     With his dying breath,  Stephan prayed for their forgiveness.

We probably all  have heathenism  in our ancestry  —  but,  that’s no reason  to stay in it  as many are doing  these days.     We don’t want God  to turn away  from us.     As we turn  to God  for the forgiveness  we sorely need,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  thank You  for Your truths.     Create in us  clean hearts  and right spirits.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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