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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Stephen Preaching On Joseph – Acts 7

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by P...

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stephen’s speech before the Sanhedrin continues with the account of Joseph. He recounts how his brothers were jealous of him and sold him into Egypt. But he says that God was with him — that He gave Joseph favor and wisdom before Pharaoh so that he was made to be a ruler over Egypt. An important point to note here (and in the rest of Stephen’s Spirit-filled account of history) is that in each section of time, Stephen continues to show God’s unfailing love and care in all sorts of circumstances.

He goes on to talk about the famine and how Jacob and his family came to live there after Joseph made himself know to his brothers. Stephen mentions 75 coming to live there, whereas Exodus 1:5 says there were 70. But the differences in the Hebrew and the Septuagint can be explained and they harmonize fine (as if it really matters). A good explanation of that subject can be found in this article at ApologeticsPress.org.

(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.

 

Psalm 114 – The Sea Looked and Fled

mountains_005This short psalm is one of the “Hallel” Psalms (Psalms 113-118) – this one being the second hymn that was sung at the beginning of different feasts. There are some who believe that this psalm was written at the time of the return of the captives from Babylon, as encouragement for those that were returning from such a state, only to find circumstances to be very difficult at “home.”

Verses 1-5 obviously refer to the deliverance of the people out of bondage in Egypt, referencing the parting of the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan. What follows is some metaphorical poetry about God’s command over all of the earth – even to make the mountains move, and causes the earth to tremble.  If such a God is caring for His people, what do they have to fear?

Verses 7b and 8 (“…the presence of the God of Jacob,who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water”) likely refer to God bringing forth water from the rocks in Numbers 20:11 and Deuteronomy 8:15.

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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.  

Psalm 105, 113 – High Above All Nations!

Psalm 105 is the second of four psalms that contain substantial historical narratives (Psalm 78, 105, 106, and 136).  Unlike Psalm 78, this one does not recount any of the disobedience of the people along the way. The first 15 verses are also found almost word for word in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22, which has prompted some debate over which was written first. Regardless, this is a hymn of praise to God; and the historical content serves to demonstrate God’s faithfulness to His people, the fulfillment of His promises, and His care for them along the way.

Isaac Blessing Jacob, painting by Govert Flinc...

Isaac Blessing Jacob, painting by Govert Flinck (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 1-6 are a general call for thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. Verses 7-11 recall His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and His promise confirmed to Israel of the land of Canaan as an inheritance. Verses 12-15 tell of His care and protection as they sojourned in the land of Canaan prior to Egyptian bondage, and His protection of them from those who might do them harm. Verses 16-22 detail the life and rise of Joseph, while verses 23-25 deal with the years in Egypt leading up to the time of Moses. Egypt is referred to as the land of Ham because in the “table of nations” (Genesis 10), Egypt is named as one of the sons of Ham.

Verses 26-36 detail Moses and Aaron’s arrival on the scene, as well as the plagues God brought on Egypt. Verses 37-42 tell of the Exodus and the wilderness wandering. The chapter concludes in verses 43-45 with confirmation that God gave the land over to them, followed by final words of praise to God for his faithfulness to that promise.

Psalm 113 is a short hymn full of great praise, exalting the Lord our God “who is seated on high.” It is a hymn in which the people sing of a great and majestic God who loves and cares for the poor and those who are in need (verses 7-9). Verses 7-8 are almost word for word a part of Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2:8).

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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.  

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.

Exodus 6 – God Promises Deliverance

Speaking of Himself in third person in verse 1, God tells Moses that he will see what the Lord will do, as he delivers them with “a strong hand”.  God is very patient with Moses and his doubt, as He is building faith – the faith, not only of Moses and Aaron, but of the people of Israel as a whole.   He restates His covenant with them in verses 3-4.

God is specific about what He wants Moses to say to the people in this chapter, as others.  But verse 9 says that “they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery”.  This did not come as a surprise to Lord.  He knew they would not listen at that point, but He also knew that they and their children’s children would remember the things that He had Moses tell them over and over (as in verses 6-8) – “I am the Lord” — “I will redeem you” — “I will take you to be my people” — “I will deliver you”  — “and you shall know that I am the Lord your God”.

Moses is discouraged, but God tells him to go again to Pharaoh, and tells him in no uncertain terms that he and Aaron will in fact be bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt (verse 13)!  The genealogies beginning in verse 14 are intended to demonstrate to the reader how Moses and Aaron descend from the house of Israel (Jacob), just like any one of more than 600, 000 others (Exodus 12:37).

Verse 30 shows that Moses is still not convinced that anyone will listen to him now.

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 4 – Moses Given Powerful Signs

Moses begins objecting to his mission first by telling the Lord that nobody will believe that He has spoken to him.  God answers this one by showing him signs, and telling him of more that He will show him (verses 2-9).  He continues to object in verse 10 that he is not eloquent in speech, to which the Lord replies that He will be his mouth and teach him what to say (verse 12).  Then, Moses just tells God what is on his mind – he doesn’t want to do it!  He angers the Lord when he asks God to send someone else (verse 13), and He tells Moses that his brother Aaron, the Levite, will speak for him, and that Moses “shall be as God to him” (verse 16).

With those seeking his life dead now (verse 19), God tells him he can return to Egypt; and Moses goes back to let his father-in-law, Jethro, know that he will no longer be tending his sheep.  God sends Aaron “into the wilderness” to meet him, in order to hear what the lord has said.  Aaron and Moses go back and gather the elders, and tell the people all that had happened – showing them the signs.  They believed, and “they bowed their heads and worshiped” (verses 29-31).

Much time can (and has) been spent, and even wasted, puzzling over verses 24-26.  Both the text and its timing can be confusing.   Whenever we come across one of the few passages in scripture that are just that way for us, we always want to ask ourselves the same question.  What about the passage is important as it relates to serving the Lord, and therefore, salvation?  That criteria will usually help us move on.  In this case, all we know for certain is that for whatever reason, Moses had not (at the time that verse 25 refers to) circumcised at least one of his sons.  The important point is that Moses’ house was fully following the Lord’s commandments before he went to Egypt to carry out God’s will.

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 3 – The Burning Bush

The last time the scripture recorded God speaking was over 400 years ago to Jacob (Israel) to tell him to go ahead and leave Canaan for Egypt.  In verse 2, “the angel of the Lord appeared” to Moses at Horeb “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”.  The ground is holy (verse 5) because of the presence of the Lord, who tells Moses of his plans (verse 8) to deliver “the people of Israel” to the land He promised Abraham would belong to his offspring in Genesis 13:14-17.

When asked His name, the reply in verse 14 “I am who I am” basically means the one who is, always has been, and always will be.  It does not mean that Moses did not know who the one true God is.  This is how Moses is to refer to “the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” when speaking of Him to his people – as well as to the polytheistic people of the land where they are now captive.

In verses 20-22, God tells Moses how he will deliver them with the power of His hand, and the “victory” over their captors will be signified by their “plundering” them (as is done by victorious armies).  But in this case, it will be done simply by the people asking for the treasures!   This emphasizes well that when God shows His power, it is awesome indeed!

(Side note: As this chapter introduces the name of Yahweh (the Hebrew contained no consonants, so the Lord is referred to in the text as “YHWH”), you may be interested in a great article on Gordon Franz’s site “Life and Land Seminars”, entitled “Yahweh Inscription Discovered at Mount Sinai!“.  Further illustration that although genuine secular evidences are plentiful, men need to take care in trying to use them to prove the Bible is true.  His summary at the end of that article is right on the mark!  Bear in mind, however, that I do not know if his opinion of claims about the disputed location of Mt. Sinai is correct.)

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 2 – The Birth of Moses

Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it.

After he is born, Moses’ mother is unable to hide him after three months, and places him in a basket in the reeds by the riverbank (verse 3).  After Pharaoh’s daughter “draws” him out, Moses’ own sister summons the courage to ask her if she should get a Hebrew woman to nurse the child for her (verse 7).  So of course, she fetches Moses’ own mother for the task!

Stephen tells us in Acts 7:23, that Moses was 40 years old when verses 11-15 take place; and Moses flees for his life to Midian (where he will stay for another 40 years, as we are told in Acts 7:30).  The father of the woman who will become his wife is referred to as Reuel in verse 18, but we will come to know him as Jethro.

 God Hears Israel’s Groaning – As the people cry out because of their slavery, verse 24 says that “God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob”.  God never forgets.  When the scripture says “God remembered,” it means He has decided the time has come for what He wants to happen next concerning that person or event (as in Gen 8:1).

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.