What I Read Today;
Hebrews 9; Acts 7; Jeremiah 11-12; Psalm 96; Judges 3-4
Acts chapter 7 is where everything changes.
I’m pretty sure that Stephen understood that this was not going to end well. The Jewish leaders had been looking for someone to put there foot down on. So desperate to make this happen, they allowed trumped-up charges. Next, they allowed false witnesses. Finally, they sealed the deal with a sham trial. Then they let the mob drag an innocent man to his death.
The Jewish Council broke God’s law in numerous places. We can start with the 8th commandment. Then we can move onto Exodus 23’s prohibition about spreading false reports. Let’s add to that Deuteronomy 19’s prohibition against allowing false testimony in a trial. Oh, and in case you forgot, they violated the fifth commandment as well.
How much evil can one place hold? But God was about to use this horrendous evil, to change the world.
When we live through drought times in Colorado, it was usual for the state to invoke burn bans. The reason for this is that if a single ember escapes from a small fire, it can catch the dry foliage around it on fire. Once the foliage starts burning, it is nearly impossible to put out. That forest fire will burn until it runs out of fuel. When the forest fire is done, it leaves the landscape changed forever. The memory of what was there before is wiped out in a matter of days.
Once the fire starts, it becomes natures cleaning crew. The forest fire will clear out the underbrush and deadwood. The clearing of the ground will allow new growth to come up and replace the dead and dying foliage. Without the fire, the new growth can’t occur.
Even when someone intentionally sets an unauthorized fire in the forest, the cleaning will take place.
The Jewish leaders have no idea what they’ve just done. They have just set the spark to a fire that will clear out the deadwood of polytheism. They have just set the Gospel loose to clear the undergrowth of their own religion. This one evil act has set in motion God’s plan to change the world forever.
We are living through a moment in history that may forever change our world. Could it be that God is about to spark a fire? Could it be that we are now being challenged to figure out how to spread the flames of the gospel in new and unique ways? Is God challenging our idea of what it means to be a church?
Keep your eyes focused!