But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Reflection: The Necessity of The Spirit
By John Tillman
We look ahead today reflecting on our readings for tomorrow and two extraordinarily different outcomes for two men led by the same Spirit…
Many times in Judges, the Israelites rebelled over the course of one generation and from the next generation a Judge would rise up to save them. But not the first Judge, Othniel. He had been there the whole time.
Othniel was already a great hero of Israel. He had every advantage and privilege available to him at that time. He was wealthy from his military conquests. He was part of an influential family. He was a seasoned military leader. He had a strong spiritual heritage, being from the family of Caleb, a mighty hero of faith. But despite this, Israel suffered and Othniel could not save them. Until God’s Spirit came on him.
Othniel was a great leader and a great warrior. But it was the Spirit of God, not Othniel or his skills that saved Israel. In Othniel’s day, the Spirit of The Lord coming on a leader was a rare, miraculous event. But in our case the miracle has already occurred. The main thing keeping us from accessing the Holy Spirit is…us.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and told the disciples that it is to our benefit that he leave and the Spirit come. But the benefit may not be something that looks like victory to the world. In Acts, we read of Stephen, who was filled with the Spirit and spoke with power. We like that part. Then he was stoned to death.
Othniel and Stephen are two men touched and led by the Spirit of God to very different outcomes. From the world’s point of view, one was a victor and one a victim. In many ways, the Kingdom perspective of their situations is the reverse.
Othniel seems to have won a great victory and Stephen seem to have lost everything, until you keep reading. 40 years later, Israel is back in the same predicament, tragically repeating the same mistakes over and over. But 40 years after Stephen’s death, the church he died for was spread across the known world by one of the very men who helped put him to death.
We need the Spirit in our lives not because our skills, our wealth, and our influence cannot accomplish things of significance, but because what is truly significant is often hidden, like a treasure buried in a field, and we must follow the Spirit, forsaking all else to find it.
Prayer: The Greeting
O Lord, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you. — Psalm 88.14
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Judges 2 (Listen – 3:19)
Acts 6 (Listen – 2:35)
Judges 3 (Listen – 4:30), Acts 7 (Listen – 8:49)
Judges 4 (Listen – 3:57), Acts 8 (Listen – 5:10)
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It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.
Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.
Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.
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Why Do We Need the Leading of the Spirit?
The leading of the Spirit—O, how highly necessary is it! Who can be without it?
Read more about Spiritual Practice as EDC
The daily practices of prayer, reading the scriptures, meditation are tools that can connect us powerfully to the Holy Spirit, help us define who and whose we are, and allow us to walk with the confidence of our secure identity in Christ.