Unstoppable! 'A Violent Leader is Feared, Not Followed' — Acts 7:23-28

Thursday, April 6, 2023

[Stephen continued his defense before the council:] "One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel. He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man's defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn't.

"The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. 'Men,' he said, 'you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?'

"But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us?' he asked. 'Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?'"

— Acts 7:23-28 NLT

Key Thought

Moses wanted to help his Israelite people when he left Pharaoh's palace to visit them. Unfortunately, his anger led him to kill an Egyptian oppressor. His eruption of violence spread among his fellow Israelites. However, it did not inspire trust in Moses as their deliverer. Moses had to spend forty years in the wilderness in his own kind of exile (Acts 7:29-30). Even then, when he returned to deliver the Israelites, he needed to display the power and approval of God before they would follow him. Leaders can't lead very long by pushing, ordering, or inspiring fear. Followers need to know that their leaders understand their struggles. God's people also want assurance that their leaders have the blessing and power of God supporting them. We should settle for nothing less as both followers and leaders!

Today's Prayer

Father, my heart is touched. Moses cared about the plight of his enslaved people even though he lived as a prince in Pharaoh's palace. He had so much to lose but risked it all to deliver your people. I realize from Moses' story that authentic leadership can't be rooted in abusing power, especially not in violent use of power. Leaders of your people must have the aroma of your faithfulness, character, and compassion. I want to be this kind of person, whether I lead or follow. I invite the Holy Spirit to continue transforming me into the person you can use as either a follower or a leader. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Mark 9:35-37; Luke 22:24-27
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 7:23-28 NLT — [Stephen continued his defense before the council:] "One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel. He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man's defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn't.
"The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. 'Men,' he said, 'you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?'
"But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us?' he asked. 'Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?'"

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.