Daily Word

History trial – God’s dwelling | Acts 7:44-50

44 “Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle[i] with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses. 45 Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David.

46 “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.[j] 47 But it was Solomon who actually built it. 48 However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,

49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
  and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?’
  asks the Lord.
‘Could you build me such a resting place?

50 Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’[k]

Acts 7:44-50 (NLT) 中文

Trial history lesson continues

At Stephen’s trial, he now wraps up 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. As prophesied, they became slaves freed by God through Moses (who they had rejected), the lawgiver, who predicted another prophet, like him, would come. But they chose to worship the gods of Egypt and reject God. For this last part of his defense, Stephen talks about the tabernacle and God’s dwelling. 

The tabernacle

Firstly, tabernacle means tent. God wanted to “live” among His people so He gave precise instructions to Moses for how to set up the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Since they were traveling place to place, it needed to be portable. It remained in use until the time of King David and Solomon when Solomon built the first Temple. Moses used to go meet with God daily in the tabernacle. His face glowed (Exodus 34:29) from being in God’s presence. Joshua, Moses’ successor, actually hung out in the tent daily (Exodus 33:11).

The Temple

It was King David who was inspired to build a proper dwelling for God, an upgrade from the Tabernacle (tent). God accepted this idea but said because David had killed people, he couldn’t build it (1 Chronicles 28:3); Solomn his son would. And he did. It was magnificent. Again God gave specific instructions for it was to be a pattern of the Temple in Heaven. 

God over the Temple

Stephen concludes by telling his prosecutors and judges that though the Temple is magnificent, God had declared the obvious – it could in no way contain Him. These Jews basically worshiped the Temple (see previous post). 

RЯeflection

  • Where is our worship? Is it in material things, people, or ourselves? More likely, it’s an idol of the heart. If the Spirit just brought to your mind your idol, stop what you’re doing and seek Him. Repent and turn to Him. Forsake the idol for His sake, for your own future.
  • Anything in particular you have gained from Stephen’s abbreviated Israeli history? Write it down. Take action. You could even write a comment here.
Abomination of desolution temple drawing. Image from davidworcester.net *

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