Today we will look at Acts 7:35-53
7:35 This same Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 38This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you. 39Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him aside and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt – we do not know what has happened to him!’ 41At that time they made an idol in the form of a calf, brought a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, house of Israel? 43 But you took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images you made to worship, but I will deport you beyond Babylon.’ 44Our ancestors had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God who spoke to Moses ordered him to make it according to the design he had seen. 45Our ancestors received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, until the time of David. 46He found favor with God and asked that he could find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. 47But Solomon built a house for him. 48Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands, as the prophet says,
49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and earth is the footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is my resting place?
50 Did my hand not make all these things?’
51 “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! 52Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 53You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.”
This is part of Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, a speech that ended with him getting stoned to death. While it is clear that Stephen condemns the actions of these people for their stubbornness of heart and failure to listen to God as well as their part in killing Jesus, there is a real message of grace for us. God knew what would happen, he knew that in sending Jesus, he would be sending him to die. God knew that Jesus would be betrayed and executed and still, he sent him! God knows how great a sinner we all are. He knows everything we do and don’t do, and still he loves us. That is not an excuse to remain in our sins, but it gives us the courage to ask for forgiveness and try again.