This is a long passage of scripture, one of remembering, one of glorifying God for what He has done, one to consider the works of God and His preparations for His people.
Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?” verse 1.
And this gives Stephen the opportunity to be a witness for what he has received from God. He begins his sharing…
“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 Haran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ verses 2 and 3.
A command is given, obedience is expected.
“So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to the land where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. 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 this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 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 trouble. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.” verses 4 – 10
We see God’s provision and the faith of the men he gave promise to. Even though they do not see at first, and for Abraham, ever, the completion of that promise, they were faithful to obey.
“Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers 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 whole family, seventy-five in all. Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers 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.
As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people greatly increased. Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” verses 11-22
God prepares for what is to come. The preparations span a length of time, but his care is seen in this account. Going back and remembering what God has done, how he has carefully planned for His own, gives encouragement to us today. He is the same God, cares for us and prepares for our future. God’s plan included us in providing for our salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus. That gift gave us eternal life through the acceptance of his sacrifice. We too can remember our own personal history and see the hand of God caring and preparing for us. How great it is to know Him!! We have done nothing worthy of this love other than to be. He created us to worship Him. We are charged to remember…His history as given in scriptures, our personal history each showing to us over and over again how faithful He is. Can we be any less? Be found faithful in remembering, in loving, in following His commands. Those commands begin with ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength. Be found full of faith; what he has done He will continue to do.