Continuing with his story, Stephen responds to the false charges of the religious leaders. He shows how God worked through people and events to fulfill his promises. And as we often see in our own lives, God did this despite the people’s rebellion against him.
The people’s own history reveals the hypocrisy of people who recite part of the story of Moses but ignore the rest of the story. The religious leaders absolutely revered Moses, yet they would not admit that—as a people—they turned against Moses. They lifted Moses up as a great leader, but they failed to remember that Moses had also murdered a man. It was God who redeemed Moses and gave him his calling to lead the people out of slavery.
Moses received God’s living words to pass along, but the people refused to obey. They rejected God and Moses in their hearts, saying they would rather be back in Egypt. They made a golden calf as an idol and worshiped that instead of God.
Stephen links the ancient history of God’s people to their current time. The religious leaders see the temple as a place of worship, but they have not recognized Jesus as the one worthy of worship. They prize a building, but they have failed to see that God wants their hearts.
Similarly, we may think that God loves our church structures, but he still really wants our hearts as his dwelling place.