Text: Acts 7:30-43
To have eyes to see the idols we create in place of God
To rejoice not in the gift, but in the God who gives
ONE OF THE GREAT pressures that our culture puts on believers is the assumption—the presumption, really—that God is hard to find, hard to hold. We live in a scientific minded culture that brackets God as an “explanation” for what we experience in the world, and as our scientific knowledge has expanded, we find we have less and less need of what the Enlightenment crowd called “God the hypothesis.” The bracketing shifts and squeezes until there is no longer room for God in the picture, and he is no longer seen.
All our bracketing does not do away with our own hearts, and Luther, following Augustine, writes in his Large Catechism that a god is that to which we look for all good, to which we cling in all need…that to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God. Like the silly man who seeks his keys where the light is better, even though he lost them two blocks over, we look for God in the places we chose rather than go where God has promised to be, and so we look at the gifts of God and cling to them. We mistake the gift for the Giver, and all sorts of mischief results.
Stephen, in recalling the history of Israel, points out the mischief that the people got themselves into because they confused the Giver and the gifts, and decided that they would cling to the gifts, the security the gifts seemed to give, rather than the Giver who is trustworthy. Soon Stephen will accuse his captors of spiritual blindness, of not being able to see rightly, to not be able to see at all. Do we see any better than they did?
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks