You Stiff-necked People!
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.”
A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and GOD of gods.
Pray for our country.
The LORD made this day, let us rejoice and be glad in Him.
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
How blessed are those who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
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.