Acts 7:40

Front view of the Yee Haw Rider. Austin Capitol grounds.

Monday, 16 May 2022

saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Acts 7:40

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, Stephen noted that the fathers rejected Moses and “in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” With that in mind, he continues by citing the words of the people, what they were “saying to Aaron.”

Aaron is Moses’ older brother and the person who had been with him as they confronted Pharaoh numerous times. He personally spoke for Moses as his mouthpiece. He saw the signs, wonders, and miracles that led to the Exodus. If anyone would be expected to wait for and support Moses, it would certainly be him. And yet, the people came to him with a demand, saying, “Make us gods to go before us.”

The verb is future, and the wording is more precise. The Greek reads, “Make us gods which shall go before us.” The idea is that they were to fashion their own gods that would be used as emblems to be carried before them as they marched. With this understood, Stephen continues with the words of the people, saying, “as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt.”

The people acknowledged that it was Moses who conducted them out of Egypt. As Moses spoke on behalf of the Lord, it is thus a rejection of the Lord. The agreement for Moses to serve in this capacity – by receiving the word and passing it on to them – had already been made and they were bound to it. And yet, they ignored this in their rush to hurry into making their own future. As this is so, they continue by saying, “we do not know what has become of him.”

It is a pathetic excuse for their statement. Moses had ascended the mountain. The presence of the Lord was clearly visible upon the mountain. If they didn’t believe Moses, they could have simply walked up the mountain and checked on his state. However, if they believed that they were accountable to the Lord and would be punished by Him for going up the mountain, then it meant that they knew the Lord was there.

Either way, they were completely without excuse for their words. Stephen’s inclusion of this account is a clear presentation to the council that they were doing exactly the same thing. They, like Aaron, were there to transmit the words of Moses. The council knew what Scripture had prophesied concerning the Lord. And yet, they turned their back on Moses, and thus they turned their back on the Lord. They did this by looking to fashion their own gods to lead them – gods of self, legalism, and so on. They were following the same pattern as their fathers in their actions towards the Lord.

The words of Stephen in this verse are found in Exodus 32 –

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’” Exodus 32:1

Life application: As is apparent, whether we have a visible manifestation of the Lord right in front of us or not, our inclination as people is to reject Him. How often do we hear others say (or personally think ourselves) that they would believe if they just had a sign from God? “Why doesn’t He clearly show Himself so that we can believe?”

Two things can be considered from this type of thinking. First, “No. No, you wouldn’t.” Even if God wrote His name in the stars, people would certainly ignore it and claim the form of the letters in the alphabet were derived from the pattern of the stars. Thus, the stars came before the alphabet, being the basis for it. Or they would find some other reason to disbelieve.

Secondly, however, God has revealed Himself in the stars, in the sun, in the flower, and in the workings of the bumblebee. The wisdom of God is found throughout the universe, from the smallest particle we can contemplate to the overall structure of the universe itself. It is seen in the complexity of the human brain and in the intricate fashioning of the hand of man. God’s power, intellect, and glory are seen in all such things. And yet, we ascribe all of this to random chance and evolution.

Expect no sign. It is very likely that you wouldn’t believe it anyway. You have already been given ten billion times ten billion signs. If you cannot believe based upon what He has done, you will not believe anything else He might do. Rather, by simple faith, accept that He is God, that He has given us His word, and that He has sent His Son to bring us back to Himself. This is what God finds pleasing. Have faith and be pleasing to Him.

Lord God, You look for faith in Your faithless creatures, so a little bit will do. And when we have faith, help us to increase it daily by thinking about You and what You have done for us in the giving of Christ Jesus. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.