GOD WHO BLESSES ALL
Lord, thank You for opening the door of opportunity to all.
Read ACTS 7:39–53
39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept 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.
‘Lord, You liberate, equip and commission Your people for the continuance of Your mission to make everything new’ (Communion Service of the Church of South India).
In Stephen’s fourth epoch (44–50), which includes the settlement in the Promised Land and the establishment of the monarchy, religious structures are mentioned for the first time (Stott, The Message of Acts, p 138). In referring to the tabernacle and the temple, Stephen is derogatory to neither. He clearly explains that the tabernacle was made according to God’s plan. Stephen’s thesis is that God is a pilgrim God, not restricted to one place. He appeared to Abraham in heathen Mesopotamia; He was with Joseph in Egypt; He came to Moses in the desert of Midian: establishing each place as holy ground. He travelled with the Israelites through the desert in a moving tent. God’s presence cannot be localized (48), and no building can confine Him. God has pledged a solemn covenant, so that wherever the people are, He is with them. In this way Stephen opens the door for the sharing of the gospel to the Gentiles and the world.
Do you see God as the God of the world? Paul says that in Christ there are no ethnic, financial, or gender inequalities (Gal 3:28). But is this true in the church? I met a young Indian convert in England who said, ‘I shouldn’t have to become an Anglo-Saxon to become a Christian’. He had faced this racial discrimination. This is not new: in the early church, Judaizers insisted that Gentile converts be circumcised. We need to grow churches that are self-governed, self-supported, and self-propagated.
John Dekker was a missionary to the ‘stone age’ Dani tribe of Irian Jaya in New Guinea. He shared the gospel with them and encouraged them to share it with their fellow tribes-people in their own way. The Dani church was developed as an indigenous church. This startling story of God’s working in a remote tribe is given in the book Torches of Joy (John Dekker and Lois Neely, Torches of Joy, YWAM, 1999).
Pray for missionaries all over the world to teach the gospel in the local language and culture.
Lord, we fully understand that no temple or tabernacle can confine You to one locale, since the earth is Your footstool.
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