Check out all the previous Acts readings here.
Acts Reading Plan | Week 6 | Day 4
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Take a moment to calm your mind and body and then pray, thanking God for filling you with His Spirit and ask Him to speak to you today.
Bible Reading: Acts 7:44-53
Read these verses three times slowly.
“Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
“‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things?’
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 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— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
Reflection & Questions
As Stephen continues to tell the story of Israel, he shows how God rescued his people so that he could be in relationship with them. In fact, He wanted to live among them.
He did this first through the tabernacle. This was a special tent where God’s presence dwelled among the people. He chose a tent, because the people of Israel were dwelling in tents as they journeyed from Egypt to the promised land. Everyone in the camp knew that the tabernacle tent was the tent where God’s presence was manifested. On arriving in the promised land, a permanent structure was built for the presence of God – the Temple. Solomon built the first one. That was eventually destroyed when Israel was exiled, but upon returning to their land, they built a second temple (the one that was there in Jesus’ time and during Acts). The second temple was destroyed in 70 AD (as Jesus predicted).
But as Stephen says, God has always said that his presence wasn’t limited to a tent or a building. In fact, he said, “God does not live in houses made by human hands”. The amazing thing that we are discovering in Acts is that we are living in a new move of God, where we are God’s temple. Incredibly, if we are believers, God takes up residence in us. That is one of the reasons God allowed the temple to be destroyed – it wasn’t needed anymore – we are his temple! Not a building made by human hands, but living beings made by God himself.
God rescued us to be in relationship with us – to live in us. But not all want to be in relationship with Him – as Stephen tells the religious leaders: “you always resist the Holy Spirit.” In contrast, the journey of being a believer is welcoming the Spirit in our life and learning to walk in step with Him.
- Dwell on the fact that you don’t visit God in a tent or a temple – that God is in you.
- What have you learned about walking in step with the Spirit? Are there areas in your life where you are resisting the Spirit? Why?
Talk to God in response to the reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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