Acts 7:57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him.
The irony of this scene is extreme to me. These people were doing exactly as Stephen had said in verse 51, resisting the Holy Spirit. If their hearts had been tender, hearing Stephen describe the vision he was given of Christ at the right hand of the Father would have driven them to their knees. Instead, they covered their ears while yelling, so as to block every word Stephen might say. People today do similar things, accepting any distraction so that they won’t have to receive the Word of the Lord. We make jokes about it, but it is funny only because it reflects what we really do. Of course the devil delights to supply all the distractions and lying voices we will accept, but we can’t say, “the devil made me do it,” as though that were a valid excuse. The devil only has as much power over us as we give him, so if we will choose to stand firmly in Christ, submitted to Him, then the devil’s tricks fade to insignificance. (James 4:7) The devil works with fear based on deception. When we choose to submit to God and trust Him, we see through the deception and the fear is lifted. That is when the devil flees indeed, though only to “look for a more convenient time.” (Luke 4:13) We are never to let our guard down, but also never to walk in fear. We are certainly never to yell and cover our ears to block the Word of the Lord, but singing praise to God is an excellent way to counter the lies the devil speaks to our minds and hearts.
I have certainly witnessed in abundance the capacity of mankind to block, ignore, and resist what God is saying, and I’ve practiced it far too often myself. For myself, I need to renew daily my commitment to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. For others, I am to pray for them and continue to speak the truth in love to them, both in words and in actions. There are times when my patience runs out, but I must remember how much patience has been shown toward me. I don’t expect to be stoned as Stephen was, but I must not let even such a prospect deter me. God’s plan is good, and He will more than reward me for all I do in obedience to Him.
Father, I am often amazed at people who say they love you, yet they fail to turn their hearts to You and inquire of You about the countless decisions of their lives. I ask for wisdom and anointing to speak Your truth to them so that they may be set free from the deceptions of the enemy. I also pray for the multitudes around me who have not taken the first step of choosing to believe, acknowledging Jesus as Lord. May my obedience to You draw many more into that obedience, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!