GOD’S PLANS ARE DIFFERENT
Lord, let me look forward to being an adventurer for You.
Read ACTS 7:1–8
Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin
7 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”
2 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. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’[a]
4 “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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 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.’[b] 8 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Think of what you would say if given the opportunity given to Stephen.
In response to the high priest’s question, Stephen gives the longest sermon recorded by Luke. Stephen’s method of defense is to give a panoramic view of Jewish history, picking out four major epochs of Israel’s history. First, he highlights Abraham and the patriarchal era (2–8); then Joseph and the Egyptian exile (9–19); third Moses, the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings (20–43); and lastly David and Solomon and the establishment of the monarchy (44–50). In none of these four epochs is God’s presence limited to a particular place. On the contrary, the God of the Old Testament is the living God, always calling His people to fresh adventures and always accompanying and directing them. A temple located in a particular place was not part of God’s plan.
God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision; renewed the covenant with Isaac and Jacob; and then with the twelve sons of Jacob. Stephen emphasizes the divine initiative: it was God who appeared, spoke, sent, promised, punished, and rescued. Abraham was a man of faith who answered God’s command and who never doubted God’s promise. Stephen presents the Jews with a picture of an adventurous life, ever ready to answer God’s summons, which contrasted with their desire to cling to the past. Paul says we are the true children of Abraham, saved by faith (Eph 2:8–10). If we are chosen and called by Him, we are meant, like Abraham, to follow Him in faith. When God called me in 1972 to leave my job and move into ministry, I agreed, not knowing what I was to do, but in 48 years he has used me in three different organizations and provided daily. Is God calling you to go out in faith to fresh adventures? Then trust Him and move ahead.
Pray to God to bless, protect and provide for you in whatever He wants you to do.
Lord, instill within us the desire to be as bold a witness for You as was Stephen.