GOD’S DWELLING PLACE
Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see wonderful things in Your Word.
Read Acts 7:39–53
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[a] 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made. 42 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?
43 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’[b] beyond Babylon.
44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.[c] 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’[d]
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 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— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
- Acts 7:40 Exodus 32:1
- Acts 7:43 Amos 5:25-27 (see Septuagint)
- Acts 7:46 Some early manuscripts the house of Jacob
- Acts 7:50 Isaiah 66:1,2
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you always try to fit God into an image you can understand?
How would you go about explaining human culture to an ant? There would be severe challenges. We have less ability to understand God than an ant has to understand us, but God has always found ways to communicate.
God has often used pictures and symbols that make sense to us. The tabernacle made sense to the Israelites in the desert – they needed a visual reminder of God’s presence with them. Once they settled, they needed a temple as the focus of their worship (44–47).
But as Stephen spoke, the Sanhedrin members must have seen how absurd the idea of the Most High living in a man-made building was (48). They regarded the Temple in Jerusalem in some sense as the epicenter of God’s presence on earth. But how could anyone think of the God who made the universe being contained in four walls?
God is not contained, but He has chosen to dwell among His people. His followers are His temple. When Jesus returned to heaven, through the Holy Spirit He remained close – closer than ever before. Here is another reason the church is unstoppable.
Jesus said, ‘… I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ (John 14:20). Consider what that actually means. What differences does it make to how you live your life?
I am Your temple. You, Lord, dwell within me. I am overcome by Your magnitude… and Your personal intimate love for me.
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