Day 36: See For Yourself

Acts 7:1-16 :

The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

He said, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your land, and from your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’ Then he came out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when he still had no child. God spoke in this way: that his seed would live as aliens in a strange land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. ‘I will judge the nation to which they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that will they come out, and serve me in this place.’ He gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

“The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Now a famine came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction. Our fathers found no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. On the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s race was revealed to Pharaoh. Joseph sent, and summoned Jacob, his father, and all his relatives, seventy-five souls. Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, himself and our fathers, and they were brought back to Shechem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver from the children of Hamor of Shechem.

It is interesting that rather than simply answering the accusation, Stephen decided to recite the Law back to them. Since the accusation was that he was speaking against the law, it is interesting that God had Stephen recite the law. God allowed them to hear for themselves whether or not Stephen was speaking against it first-hand. Notice that Stephen reminds them of the story of the 11 patriarchs that were “moved with jealousy.” He demonstrated that there have been times in the past when most of the Jews, together, went against the will of God through the story of Joseph and this was not the only time. Steven goes on to talk about another important example in the next lesson.