Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Deuteronomy 31; Acts 7
History is so important! History tells us why things are the way they are. The past sheds light on the present and aids in learning for the future. We should never live in the past, but we should certainly be learning from it. What are some of the things you do or do not do because of what you have learned in your past? My dad told me, “Failure is not defeat; it is school!” If we do not learn from failure, we are destined to repeat it until we do. The critical requirement in learning from history is taking personal responsibility for my part. If I am driving too fast and get into an accident, I will never learn from that event if I refuse to take responsibility for driving too fast. I will simply keep making excuses for driving fast, usually blaming other people until I get into my next accident. Stephen, in Acts 7, takes the Jews on a history lesson. He carefully explains the hand of God in the creation of the Jewish nation and His special preservation of them. In verses 51-53 Stephen explains the personal responsibility the Jewish people must take in the killing of the prophets of old and more recently the killing of the “Just One,” Jesus Christ. Though seemingly content to hear the history lesson, the demand that they take personal responsibility for their part in the death of Christ was more than they were willing to do. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth…And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” (vs. 54, 58) How sad that the refusal to accept responsibility for their part in history brought a repeat of the same behavior into the present. Before he died, God in His grace gave Stephen a glimpse of His Savior, Who had always been the focus of this faithful servant. It was this focus on Christ that allowed Stephen to pray for these religious hypocrites as they angrily threw stones for the purpose of killing this one who would dare ask them to be honest about their history. Have you taken responsibility for your past? We can never fix anyone else, but we make all of our own decisions. Therefore, we must take responsibility for those decisions we have made or we, like the Jewish leaders, are destined to keep repeating the same behavior. Stephen looked unto Jesus the author and finisher of his faith. His faithful behavior spurred a confidence in the early church and a conviction to those who watched. Saul, in verse 58, had his name later changed to Paul who God used to write 13 books of the New Testament. Paul came to the point where he accepted responsibility for his part of the past, and God used him to turn the world upside down for the cause of Christ. I am convinced God want to use us the same way. However, if we are going to learn from history, we must be honest concerning our part.
• Lord, please help me to always take responsibility for my decisions. Please help me to have the humility and honesty to own my decisions.
• Lord, please help me to always be learning from the past. Please give me discernment to see my past actions clearly and to learn the appropriate lessons from them.
• Lord, please help me to focus on you like Stephen. Please make me a testimony of your grace and witness of your Person.