Daily Word

History trial – wrong worship | Acts 7:39-43

39 “But our ancestors refused to listen to Moses. They rejected him and wanted to return to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’ 41 So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and celebrated over this thing they had made. 42 Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods! In the book of the prophets it is written,

‘Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings
    during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel?

43 No, you carried your pagan gods—
    the shrine of Molech,
    the star of your god Rephan,
    and the images you made to worship them.
So I will send you into exile
    as far away as Babylon.’[h]

Acts 7:39-43 (NLT) 中文

Trial history lesson continues

At Stephen’s trial, he continues his abbreviated history of Israel with an emphasis on God’s promises to be faithful to Israel – despite their rejection of Him. Starting with God’s call to Abraham and his response of faith followed by God saving Abraham’s descendants in Egypt from a famine. Then from slaves in Egypt 400 years as God prophesied, to freedom through Moses (who they had rejected) delivering them. This Moses prophesied another prophet, like him, would come. And he gave them the law.

Rejecting Moses and God

After God’s miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea, they still rejected Moses – and God Himself. They longed to return to Egypt and its gods. They would choose slavery there over freedom under God’s reign through Moses and the Law. Their hearts were not with God.

So God let Israel have what they wanted. They rejected Him so He rejected them. Later He allowed them to be taken captive to Babylon (Amos 5:25-27, Greek version). Yet He did it in love and with full intent to forgive and restore them as His people again.

Stephen’s defense

For Stephen’s court case defense, he was pointing out that, “Just as Israel worshipped the calf in the wilderness, so now they were worshipping the works of their own hands.” (enduringword.com) They worshiped the temple more than the God of the temple.


  • God will not force obedience. He cannot force love – or it’s not love. He gives all freedom to choose. The Jews were given freedom to choose to worship Him or idols. We today are given a choice to worship Him or reject Him and worship our idols, ourselves! But there are eternal consequences.
  • Have we fallen into a trap of worshiping others things in place of God? Not just physical objects like cars, clothing, food, but more significantly, wrong ideas or behaviors we won’t give up?
Wandering worship. Image from Pxfuel.com

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