How Big Is Your God?
God of heaven and earth, open my eyes to see how much bigger You are than my own understanding.
Read ACTS 7:35–53
35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
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!’ 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’ 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. 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?’
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.”
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.
ReflectWhen you think about God, what comes to mind? What does this suggest about your view of God?
Stephen’s listeners, the Jewish council, thought that they were the guardians of Moses’ customs and Jewish religious worship (Acts 6:14). They took it upon themselves to defend the ways of God from confused upstarts like Stephen. But Stephen will have none of it. In this final section of his speech, Stephen points out the failings of their ancestors (35,39,40–43) and shows that their worship went awry even though they constantly had a sign of God’s presence with them (44,47). Their ancestors’ view of God was too small. God made heaven and earth (49,50) and was not confined to human-built worship centers.
Having established the greatness of God, Stephen then pounces. He declares that his listeners are just like their rebellious ancestors, opposing the Spirit (51) and actually killing the Messiah (52), all because they didn’t like Jesus’ view of himself and of God.
It is far too easy for us also to put God in a box and to insist that the only right way to worship or approach him is our way. But God’s ways always go far beyond our limited human understanding of how God ought to work.
How can you worship God today—not through religious practices, but through your personal relationship with him?
Praise God, for he is bigger and does far more than we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
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