Esther 9-10 Acts 7:1-21
“Jacob’s sons became jealous of Joseph and sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him 10 and saved him from all his troubles. The king of Egypt liked Joseph and respected him because of the wisdom God gave him. The king made him governor of Egypt and put him in charge of all the people in his palace.” (Acts 7:9-10 NCV)
When the priests asked Stephen whether the accusations about changing the customs from Moses were true. Stephen responded by letting them know that he knew full well the customs of Moses and of the people of Israel. His response which began with a discussion of the history of the Jewish people let them know immediately that the Jews had a history of rebelling against God’s anointed people. How was it that Moses needed to deliver the people of Israel from Egypt and give them God’s Law? The sons of Israel (Jacob) had betrayed Joseph and sold him into slavery. It was easy for the Jews to forget about the evil parts of their past and focus on the bravery, heroism, and faith of Moses. Stephen was setting them up to make them realize that by crucifying Jesus, they were following in the footsteps of their ancestors who rebelled against God’s plan.
Tradition is a strong influence on the church. We settle into our ruts and go they way they go because it’s comfortable. Breaking out of ruts is always rough. In Rwanda, many of the roads are dirt roads and it’s easy for ruts to develop during the rainy season. Our team bus got caught in one of the ruts recently and it was quite an effort to free it from the ruts. Churches get into ruts when they begin to think that the way they worship God, or the way they evangelize is more important than the fact that they do worship God and that they do share the gospel. As society changes the church needs to welcome the insights and even the traditions of new people in the community. We must always stay true to God. We must never engage in or welcome rebellion against God’s word. We must always be open to different ways of expressing our faith and our love of God. The worship style in Rwanda is quite different from what I’m used to at home, but you can see the joy of the Lord as the people here celebrate God’s presence. The gospel of Jesus should break us out of our ruts of sin, our ruts of tradition, and free us to worship Him. Tradition itself isn’t bad. Change in itself isn’t good. The key to godly worship is that we’re seeking God and open to Him molding us into His image.
Lord, mold me. Help me to throw off any tradition that keeps me from worshiping You the way I ought. Help me to be open to Your leadership as I go through life so that I might always honor You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved