Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears, and they rushed upon him with one impulse. (Acts 7:54-57)
When Stephen was dragged before the high priest and the members of the Council in the early days of the church, and gave a long testimony of the history of the Jewish nation, beginning with Abraham, they listened to him. Yet when he told them that they were stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears (Acts 7:51), and always resisting the Holy Spirit, they were “cut to the quick” and began gnashing their teeth at him.
The words “to the quick” when literally translated is “in their hearts,” so they were “cut in their hearts.” Interesting that, through Stephen, the Holy Spirit would tell them they were uncircumcised in their hearts, and then immediately do what was necessary: “cut in their hearts.” What they hadn’t done themselves–circumcise their hearts and make themselves holy and dedicated to God–the word of God did for them, whether they liked it or not. Their hearts were instantly circumcised. This aligns with this well-known scripture:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
As soon as the word of God circumcised their hearts, they began gnashing their teeth at Stephen–not so much at Stephen, but rather the Holy Spirit within him. What did they do next? They covered their ears. Why? Because as Stephen said, their ears were uncircumcised as well, and subsequently went under the “knife” of the word of God. BAM. Right then, right there.
In these days when many people are turning away from the Bible, or picking and choosing what they want to subscribe to in the word of God, we are called simply to be God’s mouthpiece. We must know the Bible–we must “eat” of it daily as I said in a recent blog–and when someone asks us a question or ascribes incorrect information to it, we have only to state what the real truth is, nothing more, nothing less. We don’t need to argue, debate or get into a heated discussion, because the word of God is a two-edged sword, and it will do its job, all by itself. It doesn’t need our help. It simply needs our voice.
That’s what we’re called to be: God’s mouthpiece. We need to speak His truth clearly and distinctly, with a clear and confident voice, regardless of what is politically correct. Those uncircumcised in heart and ears won’t like it. Not one little bit. No one likes having their hearts and ears cut to the quick. And chances are good they’ll gnash their teeth at you. But just remember, it isn’t you they’re railing at. It’s the Holy Spirit, and His work, although painful, is good. It’s life-changing, if people will yield to Him.
Speak the truth, so that the Purifier can do His blessed work.