[Stephen continued his defense with a shocking turn, quoting Isaiah and criticizing worshiping only in the Temple:] "Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses. Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David.
"David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who actually built it. However, the Most High doesn't live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
'Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?'
asks the Lord.
'Could you build me such a resting place?
Didn't my hands make both heaven and earth?'"
— Acts 7:44-50 NLT
God is too big to fit into a box, even a large and gloriously decorated box such as the Temple with a surrounding courtyard for hundreds of people. Solomon built the Temple that King David had planned, but even at the dedication of the Temple, Solomon emphasized that God is too great to live in something constructed by human hands (1 Kings 8:27). The Lord made the vastness of space with all the galaxies, stars, and planets. The earth is but his footstool. Stephen echoed Jesus (John 4:20-24) and reminded us that we should not get caught up in place-based religion, but focus on a God whose majesty and greatness are much more than we can imagine. If we are not careful, we can be guilty of a "God is in OUR box" mentality. We must focus on our God whom we long to encounter and whom we must worship with our entire lives (Romans 12:1) rather than focusing on worshiping him in a particular PLACE.
O God, I love the beautiful things that humans have made to honor you with their creativity in song, design, sound, color, art, and architecture. However, I fear we get much too focused on the places of our design and creation rather than on your creativity, holiness, majesty, and care for all of your creation. O Holy Spirit, draw my heart to pursue Jesus as Emmanuel so I can know God and show my love for him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I ask this in Jesus' glorious name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Psalm 8:1-9
- Hebrews 1:1-13
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Friday, April 14, 2023
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.