Rocking someone to sleep (Acts 7-8)

60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60

I can still recall the days of old when I would walk by our children’s rooms, when they were infants, and there in a rocking chair sat a loving mother rocking her sweet baby to sleep.  Oh how awesome to think about the care of a mother in rocking her child to sleep.

This morning the phrase, “Rocking to sleep,” came to mind as I read Stephen’s story in Acts 7.

Acts 7 gives us the account of both Stephen’s address to the angry mob as well as their response to his address.  The end result, “they rocked him to sleep.”

This may be seem odd to you to consider the martyrdom of Stephen in these terms.  I will come back here in a moment.  These were exciting days for the church as she began her mission of Acts 1:8.  Two things stand out to me in chapters 8:

  • Persecution was God’s instrument of mobilization, Vs: 1-3.

When Stephen was rocked to sleep, the religious crowd had tasted the blood of the church and they liked it.  Suddenly the church was thrust into days of great persecution.  These were exciting days because God used persecution to spread the people throughout the world.  As they spread they sowed the Word of God.

  • Preaching was God’s instrument of evangelism, Vs: 4-25.Philip preached the gospel as he went through the cities and villages. This was God’s instrument and it still is today.  We see this example of one-on-one evangelism in Vs: 26-40.

We see this so clearly as the Holy Spirit directed Philip to a divine appointment in the desert!   God filled Philip with the message and favored him in opening the eyes of the Eunuch.

Now back to the “Rocking to sleep,” metaphor.

It seems that many in the church (USA mostly) have been rocked to sleep when it comes to God’s call on our lives to be mobilized for the preaching of the gospel.  We have regressed into useless debates of things of little value.  We have retreated from the field of battle for the souls of men.  We have run from the possibility of persecution.

However, “God would have us to awaken from our sleep an embrace His instrument of mobilization and evangelism.”

For me, being rocked to sleep for the gospel is a cause worth living and dying for!!!  Oh how I pray for the faith to be mobilized as well as for the boldness to preach the gospel to those who would be my captors.

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