Stephen was appointed by the first church as one of the seven leaders. He demonstrated great wisdom as he spoke and the Spirit was with him. In Acts 7, he answers question in front of the Sanhedrin about charges of speaking against Moses and God. Stephen goes into a history lesson of how God has guided the people of Israel; that God had given them the land they lived in but the people continued to reject God. He went into the history of Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt; performing wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the wilderness (v. 36).
Even when God blessed the people of Israel, they chose to worship idols instead so God turned away from them at certain times in history and allowed foreign nations like Babylon to take over their land. But God never let Israel be totally destroyed and Stephen went on to explain about God’s favor toward their ancestors; eventually driving out their enemies.
Stephen went on to explain that during the time of David, plans were made to build a house of God and it was eventually built by Solomon. He brought up again how their ancestors continued to reject God even though He gave them everything, including the Righteous One who they killed (v. 52).
The members of the Sanhedrin were furious so they all rushed at Stephen, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him (v. 58). So we see how history repeats itself in this passage. The people of Israel have favor in God’s eyes but they continue to reject Him. Like Jesus who prayed for His killers when He died for our sins on the Cross, Stephen also prays for his enemies as they stone him to death.
This day with You God, we have received another great lesson from Your Word. There are times when we resist Your purpose for us. Just like today’s passage when the people of Israel rejected You, we take the wrong way by worshiping idols. Our idols today may be material gain like new houses and cars or in spending our whole life in the pursuit of fame rather than giving You the glory.
We forget there is only one victory that is important in this life; the victory assured through Jesus Christ. He blesses us with more victories than all the grains of sand on earth. Help us Lord to chase after the fruits of the Spirit. For hope gives optimism in a time of despair, Faith gives courage in time of doubt, and love brings victory in a time of hate. Help us to bring you glory today by continuing to share about Jesus all the way to the finish line. Amen!