Acts 7:51-53 Rejection of God

Posted by Matt Postiff November 21, 2009 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.

Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin contained several references to the Jewish people rejecting God and his messengers. The first is in v. 9 where the patriarchs sold Joseph into Egypt as a slave because they were jealous of him. The next is in v. 25 where Moses was rejected by his brethren from delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh (see also v. 35). Verse 39 tells us that Moses was rejected again when the people wanted to go back to Egypt. The nation also rejected God, attempting to replace Him with a golden calf and other idols (v. 41).

Stephen has summarized that the most revered OT saints and even God himself were rejected by the Jews. Stephen did not list all the other prophets that the Jews also rejected. And now, he says, the Jews have done it again. They rejected Jesus, their Messiah, just like their forefathers rejected God.

The point is not to pick on the Jewish people, for we are all as depraved as they were. But we should see that here was a pattern in Israelite history: the Jews rejected God again and again. Those of Jesus' day did not learn from the ill example of their fathers and repeated the same mistake.

This is a clear warning to us that we ought to give heed to what we learn from God through the Bible. In it are plenty of examples to help us avoid sinning like those of earlier days (Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:6, 11). We must not resist the Spirit's teaching through the Word. This is a real danger. Verse 42 says that in response to their rejection, God "turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven." He let them go their own way. They rejected God; then God rejected them. MAP

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