As you read today’s text, you might do a double-take. “Wait. Wasn’t
the burning bush story in Exodus 3?” Yes, and if you’re looking for a
sermon that covers Israel’s history, then Acts 7 is the chapter for you.
When Stephen concludes his message, the people stone him to death.
The religious leaders have had enough of Stephen. They have
become insecure about his popularity and essentially ran a “fake
news” smear campaign against him centuries before social media
existed. Acts 6 tells us that the religious leaders “secretly instigated”
(v. 11) and “set up false witnesses” (v. 13) and “stirred up the people”
(v. 12) against Stephen, claiming that he was speaking blasphe-
mously about Moses. Today’s passage is Stephen’s answer to their
Stephen wants to remind them of who they are as the people of
God, so he gives a history lesson, including highlights of their past
experiences with God. This includes Moses encountering the burning
bush and discovering holy ground. Recalling God’s reassurance to a
trembling Moses may be a comfort to Stephen in that moment.
I find this type of historical inventory helpful in my own walk
with God, too. There are days when I doubt, when worry consumes
me. On those days, when I feel that God is distant or I doubt God’s
plans for my life, I review my own “burning bush moments.” I recall
other days and crises in which I doubted or worried and remember
how God showed up and carried me through those situations. The
psalmists were familiar with this practice as well. Today might be a
good day for a spiritual inventory.
List those times when God’s presence was unmistakable to you, days when nothing but grace could have carried you through. Put your list where you’ll see it periodically, particularly when such days come again.
Steady and faithful God, remind me that you have always been walking with me. Assure my anxious spirit that you will continue to do so. Amen.