Stephen On the Rejection of Moses – Acts 7

A depiction of the Hebrews' bondage in Egypt, ...

A depiction of the Hebrews’ bondage in Egypt, during which they were forced to make bricks without straw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Stephen continues his speech, he tells of how the Israelites went from less than a hundred welcomed guests of the Pharaoh to over 600,000 men plus women and children (Exodus 12:37), who were now slaves. But slavery, as Stephen says, was not the worst of their problems. Their children were being murdered to try to keep their growing numbers down. This clearly is to illustrate the fulfillment of Gods promise to Abraham to “multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).

Moses himself had to be hidden to escape death (Exodus 2), and it is here in verse 23 that we learn that Moses, having been raised in Pharaoh’s own house, was 40 years old when “it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.” After striking dead an Egyptian that was beating one of them, Stephen illustrates in verse 26 the betrayal of this prophet of god by one of his own people, after which he fled from Egypt.

Then he tells in verse 30 that it was another 40 years before Moses’ encounter with the burning bush at Sinai (Exodus 3). It is these inspired details from Stephen that help us piece together Moses’ age at different intervals in the Old Testament. But Stephen’s point is that it was this man (led by God, of course) who led them out of bondage — the one they had rejected.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” to find out about my published and upcoming books, and for a link to my Facebook Author’s Page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

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Exodus 40 – The Tabernacle Erected

The Tabernacle, Camp, & c.

Image via Wikipedia

Chapter 40 is extremely momentous in the story of God’s people and our salvation.  After the golden calf disaster, the covenant with the Lord has been renewed, the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle were given; and in verses 16-19, it was erected as the Lord commanded a year after they came to Sinai (verse 17 – “the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month”).  The previous chapters were rich with the description of the tabernacle in every particle, showing us that God does indeed care about the details of his commands.  Here too, in verses 18-33 much detail is given; and the important preparations for Aaron and his sons to assume the role of priests for generations to come is given.  This is described further in Leviticus 8:1-13.

The Glory of the Lord in verses 34-38 is an important sign that the Lord is now dwelling among His people after He approves of the Tabernacle.  It is a presence that the people will cherish as their relationship with Him has been restored, and this momentous occasion will be repeated with much celebration after Solomon builds the Temple in 1 Kings 8:10-11.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 33 – The Command to Leave Sinai

Climbing the trail near the summit of Mount Sinai.

Image via Wikipedia

The Lord tells Moses to take the people and leave Mount Sinai for Canaan; and again tells him that He will send an angel, but He will not go with them.  The people feel the loss in this proclamation (verse 4), and Moses intercedes.  Moses has matured, and has found favor with God, and their relationship reminds us of that of the Lord with Abraham – as verse 11 even uses the comparison of their conversations to that which occurs between friends.  God’s favor with Abraham as friend is recounted in Isaiah 41:8, where He reassures His people; as well as in James 2:23.

Moses also brings Abraham’s bargaining intercession to mind (from Genesis 18:22-33), as he pleads for the people in verses 12-16.  the Lord agrees in verse 17 because Moses has “found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”  Despite His very real and righteous anger, the Lord seems to be training Moses as the leader that He wants him to be.  His request in verse 18 should be understood as desire for an outward sign of his favor with the Lord as His chosen leader of the people.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 32 – The Golden Calf

English: Worshiping the golden calf, as in Exo...

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It is hard to believe that these are the people who in Exodus 20:18-19 were so fearful and in awe of the Lord; and that in Exodus 20:23 were explicitly warned not to make idols.  Could it be any coincidence that the disaster of Jeroboam I making the two idols was done with him using almost the exact words of verse 4, when he said in 1 Kings 12:28 “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt”?  The golden calf was probably the Egyptian bull “deity” Apis.  Sadly, Aaron’s confession to Moses about what they had done is so lame in verses 22-24 – He just threw their gold into the fire, and out comes this calf!  Does any of that remind you of Adam in Genesis 3:12, as it does me?

Joshua had been waiting for Moses at his post on the mountain when he remarked to Moses that the noise from the people below sounded like war.  Notice that Moses, having been informed by the Lord, asks in verse 26 “Who is on the Lord’s side?”  When the sons of Levi come to his side, he orders them to put to death a number of those who did not come at that time – an easy detail to miss with so much happening.  In verse 29, he blesses them, saying that they have been ordained for the Lord.

But the Lord is rightfully hot with anger at this “stiff-necked people” and He wants nothing more to do with them.  Stephen refers to those who had rejected Jesus in the same way in Acts 7:51, before he is stoned.

(Side note: more information about the Egyptian idol that the calf may have been fashioned after can be found in this Wikipedia article)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 20 – The Ten Commandments

English: The Ten Commandments, illustration fr...

Image via Wikipedia

The ten commandments that are given in this chapter begin with the lord reminding His people who He is that has delivered them, and that they are to revere Him as the holy one that He is.  The covenant that He makes with them demands that they worship only Him – the one true and living God.  The command not to make any idols or images for worship extends both to those representing other “gods” as well as any to Him.  This is because any image meant to reflect Him would never be sufficient to adequately represent the Lord, and man’s imperfections would only reflect badly on His perfection.

In verse 5, the reference to visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children of other generations is a reminder to us that it is our sin that causes pain and suffering, and those consequences can often be more far-reaching than we ever imagined.  god prepared them for his command in verse 8 about the Sabbath with the introduction of the manna in chapter 16, and now shows its relation to His work in the creation.  Verse 12’s command to honor your mother and father goes far beyond simply respectful children.  It extends to how the way we live our lives reflects on them (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), as well as how we care for them as they age (Mark 7:1-13).   Verse 13 is clearly about murder and the unjust taking of life, thought man has tried to make it into many things. We all know what adultery, theft, and bearing false witness really are.  Coveting something (verse 17) encompasses the desire for what another has that becomes so strong as to bring that person to contemplate or even do unrighteous things to obtain it.

Finally, in verses 22-26, the commands about the altars with which to worship the Lord again admonish against molding images for that purpose. No hewn (or chiseled) stones are to be used in making them; and they are not to go up by steps to it and expose their nakedness – profaning worship, as the Canaanites do.  But more than that, it show that God cares very deeply about how He is worshiped by giving commands of doing it in strict detail.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 17 – Water from the Rock

The events of this chapter, especially as referred to in verse 7, are referred to in Psalm 95:7-9.  The quarreling with Moses about water and the water from the rock are sometimes confused with what occurs in Numbers 20:2-13, wherein the Lord responds to Moses by telling him that he will not lead His people into Canaan.  The difference is that here, Moses did as God told him.  In Numbers, he disregards the Lord’s instruction, and brings the water forth in the manner that he pleases. Paul is probably alluding to the water from the rock in this chapter in relation to Jesus in 1 Corinthians 10:4.

The people of Israel face their first battle, and it is the Amalekites that attack them. The references to Moses’ hands in verses 9-12 serve as illustrations of at least a couple of things that we can learn from. It is Moses that the Lord is working though to bless the people and guide and protect them.  But Moses is just a man, and he grows weary and Aaron and Hur must help hold his hands up with the staff.  The Lord is the one with the power and He is delivering them.  But I think that we can also be reminded here that when we face difficult situations in our lives, we need to learn to lean on our brethren, and draw strength from them as we grow weary.

In verses 14-16, the Lord’s gives His judgment on the Amalekites and His statement that He “will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” will indeed come to pass when He is ready to do so.  The reason for His harsh judgment is not spelled out completely here, but His displeasure with them is made clear in Deuteronomy 25:17-19.

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Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 16 – Bread from Heaven

Wilderness

The people are hungry as they travel though the wilderness, and their grumbling begins again as they remind Moses yet again how “good” they had it back in Egypt (verse 3).  A ridiculous assertion that tends to make us shake our heads, but we weren’t wandering in that barren land.  Moses rebukes them well when he makes the Lord’s intentions known to them in verses 6-8, letting them know that they are really grumbling against the one who delivered them.  The “glory of the Lord” in verse 10 is “just” another physical manifestation of God that we will read of again in many passages.  It may be helpful to remember these passages when someone is struggling (wrestling?) with the passage about Jacob wrestling with the Lord in Genesis 32:22-30.

We still do not know what it is, but the “manna” (which sounds like “what is it”) that the lord rained down is referred to as bread.  It served the obvious purpose of feeding them for 40 years (almost as amazing as the way it was provided), but also was part of the “testing” that the Lord referred to in verse 4. They are being prepared for the way of life that God intends to present to them in the ten commandments later.  The sabbath is to be a day of rest with no gathering.  When some tried to save some for the following day, contrary to instructions, it would stink and grow worms (verse 20).   But not so with the manna they gathered the day before the sabbath – when no manna would fall (verse 27).  They would have to learn for themselves, though.

Paul quotes verse 18 in 2 Corinthians 8:15, when he is admonishing the Christians there to use their abundance to help supply the needs of other Christians.  Jesus refers to the manna in John 6:41-58, where He says that He is the bread that came down from heaven, foreshadowing His death and our salvation.  The manna was more than just nourishment for the people of Israel.  Jesus came to earth to be more than just a teacher or just a “good man,” as some would claim.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 13:17 – 14:31 – Pillars of Cloud and Fire / Crossing the Red Sea

Exodus 13

God defines so much for His people in this chapter.  The obvious things are the instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which are given in verses 4-10, and in 11-16 the importance of the first-born is made known – a fact that will permeate their fabric now, and in times to come.  To consecrate is “to set apart” or make to holy, by giving it to God; and that is exactly what His people will be expected to do, as the first-born of every man and animal of the people of Israel now belong to the Lord (verse 2).

The first-born of man will be redeemed – that is, a lamb will be sacrificed in their place.  They are to keep this as a statute from year to year, and tell their sons the story of why it is now so – because the Lord has delivered them with a strong hand.  The repetition of the Lord bringing the people out “with a strong hand” echoes the repetition of “I am the Lord”.  The point seems clear that the Lord must be given respect, fear, and honor as the Holy one.

“…about six hundred thousand men on foot…”

God did not lead them by the way of the Philistines even though that would be the shortest way (verses 17-18). They were equipped for battle, but the Lord knew they were not ready for war; and He led them through the wilderness to the Red Sea.  The Lord knew how nervous, and even frightened so many thousands of people must have been.

They were free now, it’s true.  But we tend to forget when reading about this that they were leaving the only home(s) they had ever known – and they were headed into the wilderness, and even the darkness, to a final destination most of them really did not know about.  They didn’t even know when they might finally get there – much less, what would happen to them along the way!

We cannot really envision the presence that the Lord made known to His people at this time (verses 21-22), but the references to the pillar of cloud, and by night a pillar of fire, will be repeated elsewhere.  How reassuring, and very fitting, it must have been that God Himself – the same one who in His power and might brought all these great plagues on Pharaoh and his people – was now leading their way with a presence that was both magnificent and awe-inspiring!

Joseph’s wish to be buried in Canaan will be done

The future still had to seem uncertain, but God, in His matchless wisdom (and for very good reasons that we can only partly understand), is making it very clear to them in so many ways that He truly is in charge now!  Don’t miss the significance of the faith of both Joseph and of Moses in verse 19, as he take takes the bones of Joseph with him, fulfilling Joseph’s charge in (Genesis 50:24-25)!

Exodus 14 – The Crossing

No matter what you might think of the Biblical accuracy of the Cecil B. DeMille classic, it is pretty hard to read this chapter without seeing the face of Charlton Heston in your mind’s eye unless you are so young you just never saw it (hard to believe, but it happens).  For a time before CGI was even a dream to anyone, the special effects of its most famous scene are still truly wonderful.   And as I read the chapter again even today, I still get caught up in the very real story of what God did here for it is, if nothing else, a really great story!  But it is something else.  It is God’s word to us.  And I wonder sometimes when we read stories in the Bible that may have become very familiar to us all of our lives… if many of us sometimes really still just don’t get it.

Unknown where the crossing took place

Come now, you might say.  It’s the account of the crossing of the Red Sea, God delivering His people.  I understand that, and probably you do already get what I mean here, but I don’t think all of us do – not always.  That is, after all, the point of reading the Bible again and again, isn’t it?  If we never learned anything new, what would the point be?  Read it once – maybe a second time to refresh the memory – and move on, right?  But we learned long ago that reading the Bible is different, didn’t we?  We can read the same chapter we read yesterday six months from now and we might learn something totally different.

So what do I personally take away from these 31 verses of the Lord’s word today?  Well, there’s the usual stuff, of course.  Here is the same Pharaoh and his servants that couldn’t get the people of Israel out of their land fast enough after the last plague.  Now that they are gone, they start to wonder “What were we thinking, letting them go!”  So they have to go after them.  Then there are the people of Israel, who find out they are coming after them.  The same people of Israel who saw the power of God throughout the ten plagues.  The same people of Israel who have been led through the wilderness and the darkness by the awesome visage of “the angel of God” (verse 19 and Exodus 13:21-22).  The same people who now cry out, and even tell Moses that they were better off back in Egypt (verse 12)!

We are so blessed in our lives that sometimes we do not even see the many ways that God continues to bless us each and every day.  Then, if we run into a situation that is difficult, and sometimes even seems desperate, we can so easily begin to lose hope when we do not fully trust in the Lord.  And in those times, it is easy to listen to others who would have us believe that it truly is hopeless.

We do not have Moses or anyone else to perform wonders before our eyes at God’s command.  God knows that He has given us what we need on this earth – through His word.  And He will see that we get whatever else we really need until we reach the end, and bring us home to Him if we choose to serve Him.

The lack of faith on the part of the people of Israel in verse 12, after so much reason to have faith in abundance, is sometimes hard to understand.  But God fights for them anyway, and…

Well, I don’t want to ruin the rest of the story for you…

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 11-12 – A Final Plague / Passover and the Exodus!

Chapter 11 opens with the Lord revealing that this next plague will be the last, and that Pharaoh will let them go – and will drive them away.  So now, he tells Aaron and Moses, it has come to the time that the people will “plunder” the Egyptians simply by asking their neighbors for silver and gold as the Lord had told Moses in Exodus 3:21-22.  Notice that in verse 3 “the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians”.  They will be happy to give them their jewelry!

Then, as God instructed, Moses told Pharaoh how (though all of the people of Israel will be spared, so that the distinction the Lord is making is clear) every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.  The passage doesn’t elaborate on Moses walking out from Pharaoh “in hot anger” in verse 8.  But it is hard to imagine that Moses had not become fed up with Pharaoh, as well as the suffering that his stubborn sinful defiance of the Lord was bringing on others.  And so it is with our own sin – more often than we may realize.

Just as Pharaoh had previously ordered the death of  so many of those born to the people of Israel (Exodus 1:16  and Exodus 1:22), that judgment now falls on him and his own people.  As the Lord gives Moses and Aaron instructions for the people to avoid the death that will come to the land, He tells them in verse 2 that this month will become the first month of the year.  As the events that will take place in this time of their deliverance will redefine their lives, it is only fitting that it will even do so to their calendars!

Note the many similarities in the Lord’s instructions for this first passover (and all those that will follow) to what we know from the New Testament concerning “our passover lamb,” Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7) – the blood, the unleavened bread, the sacrifice each will make of a lamb in their behalf, just to name a few.

Even the command in verse 46 that “you shall not break any of its bones” reminds us of John 19:36 as it points to Psalm 34:20.  The blood on the doorposts from the lambs for the plague to “pass over” them will also be a symbol of their obedience, as will their remembrance and observance of the passover for generations to come (verses 24 ff).

As the Lord said would be so, there was a great cry in the land as no house was untouched by death (verse 30); and Pharaoh does indeed hasten their departure in verses 31-32, as do the Egyptian people.  The Lord gives them the Passover proclamation in verses 43-49; and 430 years after 70 people of the house of Israel (Jacob) entered Egypt, more 600,000 of them (besides women and children) went out.

The reference to “by their hosts” in verse 51 has military connotations; but it is God who fought the battle for the people of Israel, as we are reminded of the meaning of Jacob’s new name – “God fights” (Genesis 32:28).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 10 – The Eighth and Ninth Plagues

Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh at God’s instruction; and in verses 3-6 they tell him of the great destruction that the locusts are about to cause on the land because of his defiance of the Lord.  In verse 7, his servants come to the same conclusion that his “magicians” did previously, and basically ask him how much longer he plans to keep this up and let the people suffer.  So Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron back in, but still he thinks he is the one that is in control, rather than the Lord, and tries granting them half-concession (v. 8-11).  Partial obedience is no obedience where the Lord is concerned!

Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant...

“So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt” (verse 13-15), and the destruction by the locusts is devastating.  Pharaoh offers fake repentance; and the next plague – of darkness – makes foolish their worship of the sun, as the people of Israel enjoy light through it all (verse 23).  Still, he tries partial obedience.   But Moses, having now matured in the Lord, lets him know this is not acceptable in verses 25-26.

The events of God’s word as written in Hebrew are not always chronologically placed in succession; and some believe that the exchange between Pharaoh and Moses in 27-28 actually occurred during the warning about the tenth plague in 11:8.  This seems to be given some credence by Moses’ statement in verse 29, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.