Father God, I do thank You that I know You are actively involved in my life, working for my good.
Read Acts 7:1-16
 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”  To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.  ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’  “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.  He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.  God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’  Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.  “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him  and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.  “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food.  When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit.  On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family.  After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all.  Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died.  Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow is Stephen defending himself here?
It seems odd that when his life is on the line, Stephen should launch into a long, historical account addressed to the Sanhedrin, who are already very familiar with the Scriptures. In answering the question “are these charges [of blasphemy] true?” (1), Stephen sets out to show that he does honor the Word of God, even more than they. His very first sentence (2b) gets right into it: “The God of glory appeared … while he [Abraham] was still in Mesopotamia.” He begins with God who appeared to Abraham, not in the Temple, not in the Promised Land, but in a pagan, idolatrous country. Stephen, who clearly knows his Scriptures, uses stories of honored Old Testament characters to show how God is always the initiator, the one who calls, sends and then goes with his people. In stories about Abraham and Joseph, God calls, speaks, sends, guides, punishes, rescues and accompanies his people through many times and places. John Stott summarizes: “In his carefully reasoned defense … he emphasized the freedom of the living God to go where he pleases and to call his people to go forth, too” (The Message of Acts).
Consider where God called you from and where he now calls you to. How does that affect your life now?
Lord, continue to teach and remind me of the truth in Your Word, so I can build my life on it.
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