Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Acts 7:17-22

Summary retelling of Acts 7:17-22:

Stephen begins this section by reminding the Sanhedrin about the importance of God’s promise and that God is in charge of the timing and unfolding of the promise.  Stephen says that the Hebrews in Egypt increased in number until a time when there was a Pharaoh in Egypt that didn’t remember Joseph or know Joseph’s God.  Stephen makes a mention to the killing of the innocent Hebrew children as a form of population control.  Stephen tells us that at this time Moses came onto the scene and he was brought into Pharaoh’s house to be raised by Pharaoh.  Moses was instructed in all the ways of Pharaoh.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
My first thought is likely going to be a continual “first thought” that is applicable for every day until we finish Acts 7:50.  So I’m going to keep it as a running commentary until we get to verse 50.

Stephen continues to demonstrate mastery over his religious heritage. 
·         Day one we see that Stephen was familiar enough with Abraham. 
·         Day two we see that Stephen is familiar enough with Joseph.
·         Day three we see Stephen is familiar with Moses’ birth and the persecution of the Hebrew people in Egypt.

Why is it important to realize how important it is that Stephen knows his religious history?  What does knowing the religious history allow Stephen to accomplish?  Do you know the religious history of the Old and New Testaments?  If yes, how can/do you use it?  If no, how can you learn it?

Second Thought:
Stephen talks about God and God’s promise here.  There are two dynamics at play.  The first dynamic is God’s will.  God is in charge.  Like the famous joke that ends with God telling the atheist to “go create your own sand,” the reality is that this world is God’s and He is in charge.  The second dynamic is a reminder that God is gracious and He is merciful to us.  God can sustain us and satisfy our needs, we just need to trust Him to do so.

How easily do you remember that this world is God’s?  When is it easy to remember and when is it easy to forget?  How well do you do at remembering to trust God’s promises?  When is it easy to trust and when is it hard to trust?

Third Thought:
Stephen also makes mention of the persecution.  The Pharaoh takes advantage of the captive workforce as well as instituting several measures for population control.  God’s people will face persecution of many forms.  Again, it goes back to trusting Him to provide a deliverer for us.

What kind of persecution do you face daily/weekly/monthly?  Do you have an easy time overcoming persecution or do you struggle with it from time to time?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7: 23-29
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