"Our ancestors were unwilling to obey (Moses); instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, 'Make gods for us who will lead the way for us...'"
Stephen had something to say. Something important. And it got him killed. As one of the leaders of the early church, Stephen was instrumental in the rapid growth that was happening among the followers of Jesus! He did "great signs and wonders" among the people, the narrator of Acts says. Some within Judaism took umbrage with him. They had Stephen arrested on trumped-up charges and false witnesses.
When he had a chance to speak on his own behalf, Stephen chose to recount Israel's saving history - how God has been with them & challenged them towards faithfulness... often without success. He shared a time when the Hebrews had been freed from slavery in Egypt and were being led by Moses through the wilderness. They basically refused to follow God's leadership via Moses. "In their hearts they turned back to Egypt," said Stephen.
Wow. How accurate. Too often we, as humans... nay, as Christian believers... fail to trust where God is leading us - especially if it's new, uncharted, and unfamiliar territory. We can't see it ending well, so in our hearts, we "turn back to Egypt." We choose the safe, the familiar, the comfortable... the small view of the world. It becomes, in a sense, a 'god' to us - demanding the loyalty we should reserve for God alone. How sad. God is constantly urging us to step into deeper waters with Him... if only our hearts would be brave enough to follow.
"LORD, heal our heart problems! Inspire us to follow you boldly! Empower us to trust you and move forward in faith wherever it is you may lead us! AMEN."