Insubordination – Acts 7:51-54

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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On April 5th, 1951, a letter from General Douglas MacArthur was read aloud on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. This letter was strongly critical of President Truman’s foreign policies, in particular, the policy that primarily focused American military resources to win the war in Europe first. MacArthur simply would not accept such a decision. He believed American armed forces should destroy communism by first taking all of Korea, and then issuing an ultimatum to China, which Truman feared would lead to World War III. While MacArthur was very popular in the states, Truman had MacArthur removed from his position as Commander of Pacific Forces for insubordination.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were not military leaders, but they did have some Roman soldiers at their disposal. While assisting the spiritual leaders of Israel, the first obligation of these soldiers was to respectfully submit to the will of their Roman superiors. Similarly, it was the obligation of the religious leaders of Israel to obey all that God commanded in His Word. Yet, after the Savior’s resurrection, in Acts 7:51-54, they continued to act with insubordination toward their revered Mosaic Law, Jehovah, and the Lord Jesus Christ. When Stephen presented a historical picture of the stubborn waywardness of Israel dating back to their early patriarchs, he told them, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before the coming of the Just One.…” (vss. 51-52)? Hearing this indisputable account of Israel’s sinful past, these leaders of Israel should have responded to the truth with immediate obedience, turning to the Lord Jesus in faith. Instead, they hardened their heart further. Even though “…they were cut to the heart…they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth”(vs. 54). As their predecessors, they “hearkened not, nor inclined their ear” (Jeremiah 7:24). This people “make [made] their ears heavy, and shut their eyes….” (Isaiah 6:10), “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear.…” (Zechariah 7:12).

Passages such as these should cause every soul to consider how responsive they are to the Lord and to His Word. When the Holy Spirit convicts your heart, do you submit in immediate obedience, or do you harden your heart and walk away no different than you were before? Allow God to transform you by putting something from God’s Word into practice throughout each day.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."