God's Holy Fire: 'Stubborn People'

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

[Stephen, in his defense before the Sanhedrin:] "You stubborn people! You are heathens at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!"
— Acts 7:51 NLT

Key Thought

Stephen was empowered by the Holy Spirit and spoke with wisdom. He knew that there was great opposition to the Jesus he proclaimed and the truth he spoke. He also knew that this kind of opposition was nothing new. God's own people had consistently opposed his servants in every age even though those servant leaders had been inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The people's stubbornness made their hearts hard and their ears deaf to the truth of God. The words of Stephen and the prophets were not what the people ultimately resisted: They resisted and rejected God and thereby rejected his Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8). Let's be different than they were. Let's humbly ask God to use his Spirit to convict us where we need to be changed, fortify us where we need to be strengthened, instruct us where we are ignorant, and bring hope to hearts when they are broken.

Today's Prayer

O Father, with the words of King David, I pray: "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." I ask, dear Father, that you cleanse my heart of sin and purify my motives as I seek to serve you and that I never resist the influence of your Holy Spirit within me. I pray this in the name of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.

The quotation in the prayer is Psalm 51:17.

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 7:51 NLT — "You stubborn people! You are heathens at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!"

About This Devotional

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.