In this passage, Stephen is addressing the leaders of Israel. These are the same men who had recently crucified Jesus. He uses the history of Israel to trace the rebellion of God’s people. There is example after example of the stubborn rebellion of Israel. This stubbornness culminates in their rejection of God’s appointed Messiah.

It’s easy to be hard on the Nation of Israel. They had God’s revelation available to them. They were the recipients of incredible blessings from Him. How could they exercise faithlessness? How could those resist God who knew the most about Him.

Before we are too hard on the Israelites for their rebellion, let’s look in the mirror. Before we were believers, were we rejecting the revelation of God’s character? Yup. (Rom. 1-3) Before we were believers, were we so self-reliant that we refused to acknowledge or dependance on the grace of God? Yup. How about now that we are Christians? Do we value our own methods for success and happiness above God’s guidance? Absolutely. Every sin we commit is a rejection of God’s purpose for us and a decision to follow our own will.

So then, how do we respond to Stephen’s sermon? We turn to God in repentance and faith, trusting His plan for us more than our own. We acknowledge our weakness and depend on God rather than on ourselves. That’s hard to do, but it’s what we are called to do as Christians.