Since he has angered the wrong people, Stephen is brought before the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews. The charges are that he blasphemes Moses and God and prophesied the destruction of the temple (Acts 6:11, 13-14). “And the high priest said, ‘Are these things so?’”(Acts 7:1). Stephen begins not by answering the charges but appealing to the shared history of all Jews.
He begins with Abraham, whom God appeared to and instructed, “Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you”(Acts 7:3). He moves to Haran and then “God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living”(Acts 7:4). But despite his obedience, Abraham does not receive the land he was promised. “Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child”(Acts 7:5). Stephen is introducing the idea that even though God was with Abraham, he had to wait and suffer before he finally inherited the promises.
Living by faith means recalibrating our worldview. God’s ironclad promise, in practical terms, looks like not even a foot’s length of land. In a similar way, God uses and makes promises to people who are unimportant and overlooked in the world’s eyes (like Stephen and his fellow-disciples). We may be overlooked, waiting on ancient promises to be fulfilled—but this is precisely how God works. -----------------
One thing to think about: Can I see beyond the way things are now to what God can do?
One thing to pray for: Deeper trust in God’s promises
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