Good morning! This chapter in Acts is filled with with so much information. Stephen (see Acts 6 for more information on Stephen) was preaching…he was sharing the gospel message as a summary from the beginning books of the Bible so that the Jewish High Council could understand what God did through the prophets, through Jesus Christ and what God was doing there amongst them.Yesterday, we read about the complaining Israelites.Join me as we continue our reading in Acts chapter 7.
Bible Verse – Acts 7:44-50 NLT
“44 “Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle[i] with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses. 45 Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David.
46 “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.[j] 47 But it was Solomon who actually built it. 48 However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49 ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the Lord. ‘Could you build me such a resting place? 50 Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’[Isaiah 66:1-2]“
- The Tabernacle is also known as the Temple of Meeting.
- The Tabernacle had three main parts:
- The Outer Court.
- The Holy Place.
- The Most Holy Place
- The Tabernacle is where Moses would speak to God. (See Exodus 33:11 and Numbers 7:89)For a quick video on the Tabernacle narrated by Kay Warren of Saddleback church you can go to the Saddleback church media file at: https://saddleback.com/watch/featured-videos/tabernacle-virtual-tour
- A “permanent” Temple was built by Solomon.
- We are reminded in verse 48 that God/the Most High “doesn’t live in temples made by human hands.“
Moses continued God’s work amongst the Israelites. My favorite part of the narrative of Moses with the Israelites and his conversation with God is in Exodus 33. It was the moment when the Israelites repented and Moses was assured by God that He (God) would be with them. My favorite was when God said go, but he also said, “But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.” Can you imagine being the Israelites at that moment? But, once the Israelites heard what God said, they repented. Moses basically told God if you are not going with us, don’t send us from this place. God said, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”(Read the entire chapter of Exodus 33 when you get a chance.)
Sisters and brothers, during the mandatory quarantine period, we were reminded that God did not live in temples built by human hands. That even as the church called for repentance often citing 2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (Read 2 Chronicles 7 for the full context), we knew a call to repentance was necessary, but we also understood by faith – that God was with us.
Praise God for Jesus, the One who is our mediator between God. Thank God for sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for forgiveness of sins and for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. God’s presence is with us and goes before us. The church is within us and not secluded to the four walls in a building. Praise God for His provision and gracethat even while we social distanced that we were not separated from God.
Praise God – the maker of heaven and earth.
Father God thank you for Stephen’s sermon that is helping us to understand Your word, Your forgiveness and love for us. Lord forgive us of our sins and for the times we rebelled against you. Lord, we repent of our sins and come before you with a humble heart fully aware of our need for You. Lord, help us to turn away from the things that do not please you. Help us to reengage in the things and people that matter to you. Lord remove selfish, lying and rebellious spirits from us. Help us to keep in step with the things you have called us too. Like Moses said – if you are sending us, You have told us, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ If it is true that you look favorably on us, let us know your ways so that we may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is Your very own people (Exodus 33:12-13).” Lord, then be with us, go before us and lead us to where you desire for us to go and do what you desire for us to do. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
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