to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 30, 2019 – Wednesday
Acts 7:39-40 NIV
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.
40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’
Yesterday we ended up in this chapter where Stephen was stoned to death after his speech to the Sanhedrin. However within his speech there was a great deal of history of the Jewish nation beginning Abraham. Eventually his impassioned speech arrived at time Moses left the people to climb the Mount Sinai to hear from God for an extended period of time. That was when Stephen said of Moses:
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
Then we have our verses of the day where Stephen was making the point the Sanhedrin were no different from those who refused to obey Moses in the wilderness. At the end of his impassioned speech, just in case they missed what Stephen was saying about them he concluded with
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
God had indeed raised up a prophet from their own people, Jesus of Nazareth. Like Moses at that time Jesus was rejected. Stephen’s words as noted resulted in him being dragged out of the city and then being stoned to death. Clearly those who have rejected God do not like to be reminded of it. Not so much different from the time we live in today.
However, today as then, persecution leads to great growth in the faith as we can see in many parts of the world. Perhaps the next great awakening in America will be during a time of persecution when we will need to stand firm wearing the full armor of God.
RileyD, nwJ (to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)