Thursday, June 13, 2013

call to repent

Good afternoon friends,
In today's reading Stephen moves to make his point: Israel's resistance to God is nothing new. He's already talked about resistance to Moses in Egypt and in the wilderness. He's also talked about God's constant presence with the people of Israel through commandments, prophets and a house of worship. He starts this passage by remembering the construction of the temple.

This is an important part of his case because the leaders have accused him of speaking against the law and the temple. He responds by going back to what the Bible says when the first temple was built: God doesn't live in temples. God commanded the tent of meeting to be build for worship, but God has never been confined there. When we choose a place to worship and a way to listen to God, that strengthens our faith, but we should never imagine that God is limited by how or where we worship. God's closeness to Israel and to the church is a gift, but it's a gift that challenges us to greater faithfulness, not one that gives us special privilege. Our closeness means we need to listen more closely when God calls us to repent. Stephen claims that the leaders have used their closeness to God to close their ears, first to prophets and then to Jesus. That's a call to repentance that we need to hear today too. God is still speaking; are we still listening?

God bless,

Acts 7:47-53
47But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with 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 what is the place of my rest? 50Did not my hand make all these things?’

51”You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. 52Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. 53You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”

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