Stephen is recounting the history of God’s interactions with the Jewish people. God called Abraham to leave his land to travel to Canaan, yet did not give him any of the promised land. God also spoke to Abraham: “And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years”(Acts 7:6). Despite the rich promises he had given, God would allow his people to suffer before they were delivered. “‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place’”(Acts 7:7). The exodus from Egypt would serve as judgment on the Egyptians and the fulfillment of the promise.
The promises and covenant were passed down from Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons. “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household”(Acts 7:9-10). God was with Joseph. God blessed the work Joseph did and gave him favor in the eyes of those around him. God’s presence did not relieve Joseph of affliction, but God was still with him.
As Stephen works through the history of Israel, he will emphasize that God’s people often rejected God and his plans—as the ruling council is doing at the moment. Yet it is important to remember that God can still be with his people—working through them, blessing their work, and giving them favor in the eyes of their fellowmen—even though they might suffer.
One thing to think about: What difference does it make to think that God is with me?
One thing to pray for: God’s presence and blessing
This message was sent to: from
Fairview Park church of Christ, 11820 Fairview Road, Little Rock, AR 72212
If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter click to unsubscribe. Modify your Subscription