Job 1-2 Acts 7:22-43
“‘But our ancestors did not want to obey Moses. They rejected him and wanted to go back to Egypt. They said to Aaron, “Make us gods who will lead us. Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him.”’” (Acts 7:39-40 NCV)
As Stephen continued his defense against the accusations of the priests who sought to act as guardians of the heritage of the Jews and their commitment to the teachings of Moses, he noted that the people of Israel not only had a history of rejecting Moses, but even his own brother was suckered into the rebellion against Moses and God. While Moses went to commune with God and receive the Law, the people of Israel convinced Aaron to make an idol that they could worship. They had no faith in God of their own, they followed Moses. When Moses was gone, they returned to pagan ways. It’s a subtle condemnation of the chief priests from both sides of the coin. On the one hand, they were concerned about following Moses, when tradition showed that the people hadn’t. On the other, their devotion to Moses was of greater importance to them than their commitment to God.
Reliance upon “the law of Moses” then was an indication of second-hand faith. Did they follow the law because God had given it to Moses or because Moses had given it to them? Second hand faith is a dangerous heresy for Christians, and especially children of Christians to fall into. Sometimes the children of Christians begin to believe that they are in a good relationship with God because their parents were. In colonial America, this led to religious compromises such as the “Half-Way Covenant.” Christians fall into the trap of second hand faith when they follow a specific religious leader and begin to base their faith solely on what that person says. I cringe when I hear people talk about a certain person’s church. The church should belong to God. The church should be God’s people gathered together seeking guidance and direction from God. Pastors share the word of God with us and God may speak through them, but the key is that God is the one speaking. When the emphasis shifts to the man, or woman, who is the pastor of the church, the believer soon has a second-hand faith. I listen to my pastor. I love my pastor. But when he speaks, I search the Scriptures to see that he’s in accord with God’s word. If you have a genuine, personal faith in God, you’ll search the Scriptures to make sure that what you say and do honors Him.
Lord, let me keep my eyes on You in every circumstance. I thank You for godly advice from family, friends, and pastors, but let me always confirm my beliefs and actions by Your word.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved