SCRIPTURE: Acts 7:17-40
17 “But as the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased and multiplied 18 until another king who had not known Joseph ruled over Egypt. 19 He dealt craftily with our race and forced our ancestors to abandon their infants so that they would die. 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house; 21 and when he was abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 So Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.
23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his relatives, the Israelites. 24 When he saw one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his kinsfolk would understand that God through him was rescuing them, but they did not understand. 26 The next day he came to some of them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you wrong each other?’ 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When he heard this, Moses fled and became a resident alien in the land of Midian. There he became the father of two sons.
30 “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.’
35 “It was this Moses whom they rejected when they said, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ and whom God now sent as both ruler and liberator through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up a prophet for you from your own people as he raised me up.’ 38 He is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living oracles to give to us. 39 Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will lead the way for us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series offers about this section of Scripture where Stephen talks about Moses that “The lessons for us from Moses’ early life echo the lessons from Joseph’s: God was, step by step, fulfilling prophecy concerning Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. In the time of Moses the Jews experienced the mistreatment God predicted. Yet God was again faithful to his eternal covenant and displayed his power. He used Pharaoh’s own daughter to rescue the Hebrew baby boy who would grow up to lead God’s people out from under Pharaoh’s oppression.”
One of the most consistent and powerful themes throughout the Old Testament is God’s continual presence with the Israelites, even in the darkest times. Stephen reminds his listeners of this and how God was faithful to God’s eternal covenant. This was important to establish because through Jesus a new covenant was formed, and Stephen wanted his readers/listeners to remember that God would stay faithful to this new covenant too.
In what ways do you believe that you have seen God remaining faithful to the new covenant through Jesus in your own life? How do you believe that you have seen the continual faithfulness of God in the lives of others?
Faithful and loving God, we know that you are always true to your word. While we continue to stumble and fail in sin, you stay committed to us and faithful to the new covenant formed in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise for your ongoing faithfulness to us, and we ask that you would continue to strengthen us and grow within us so that we too might be faithful to you in all things in this life and the next. Amen.