Reading for Today:
- 1 Chronicles 15:1–16:43
- Psalm 78:12-16
- Proverbs 19:22-24
- Acts 7:44-60
1 Chronicles 15:1 David built houses for himself. He was able by the alliance and help of Hiram (18:1) to build a palace for himself and separate houses for his wives and their children. While the ark remained near Jerusalem at the home of Obed-Edom for 3 months (13:13, 14), David constructed a new tabernacle in Jerusalem to fulfill God’s word in Deuteronomy 12:5–7 of a permanent residency.
1 Chronicles 15:11 Zadok…Abiathar. These two high priests, heads of the two priestly houses of Eleazar and Ithamar, were colleagues in the high priesthood (2 Sam. 20:25). They served the Lord simultaneously in David’s reign. Zadok attended the tabernacle in Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39), while Abiathar served the temporary place of the ark in Jerusalem. Ultimately, Zadok prevailed (1 Kin. 2:26, 27).
Psalm 78:13 waters stand up like a heap. The parting of the Red Sea at the beginning of the Exodus, which allowed Israel to escape from the Egyptian armies, was always considered by the Old Testament saints to be the most spectacular miracle of their history (Ex. 14).
Psalm 78:15 split the rocks. Twice in the wilderness, when Israel desperately needed a great water supply, God brought water out of rocks (Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:11).
Acts 7:44–50 To counter the false charge that he blasphemed the temple (6:13, 14), Stephen recounted its history to show his respect for it.
Acts 7:49, 50 Quoted from Isaiah 66:1, 2. Stephen’s point is that God is greater than the temple, and thus the Jewish leaders were guilty of blaspheming by confining God to it.
DAY 26: Why was Stephen martyred?
In the climax of Stephen’s sermon (Acts 7:51–53), he indicted the Jewish leaders for rejecting God in the same way that their ancestors had rejected Him in the Old Testament. He told the members of the esteemed Sanhedrin that they were “stiff-necked” like their fathers (Ex. 32:9; 33:5) and “uncircumcised in heart and ears!” Thus they were as unclean before God as the uncircumcised Gentiles (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:28, 29). “You always resist the Holy Spirit” by rejecting the Spirit’s messengers and their message. And when he spoke of the “Just One,” Stephen reminds them that they betrayed and murdered Him (v. 52). His words were reminiscent of those from Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 23:13–39.
The reaction of the Sanhedrin was that they “gnashed at him with their teeth” (v. 54).That is the fullness of anger and frustration and was in contrast to Stephen, who “being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (v. 55). Isaiah (Is. 6:1–3), Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:26–28), Paul (2 Cor. 12:2–4), and John (Rev. 1:10) also received visions of God’s glory in heaven.
Stephen’s words were so appalling that they took him out of the city and “stoned him.” This was the punishment prescribed in the law for blasphemy (Lev. 24:16); however, this was not a formal execution but an act of mob violence. And those who participated “laid down their clothes…Saul” (v. 58). Paul’s first appearance in Scripture. That he was near enough to the action to be holding the clothes of Stephen’s killers reflects his deep involvement in the sordid affair. And Paul heard those marvelous words of Stephen, “do not charge them with this sin” (v. 60). As had Jesus before him (Luke 23:34), Stephen prayed for God to forgive his killers.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.