Tuesday, June 21 – Acts 7:9-17
“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and his entire household.
“Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. And on the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was revealed to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent word and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five people in all. And Jacob went down to Egypt, and he and our fathers died there. And they were brought back from there to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
“But as the time of the promise which God had assured to Abraham was approaching, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt.”
Have you ever listened to a story, only to realize later there were pieces you missed? When we miss major details of a story, we often respond differently than we would have otherwise. Stephen knew the Pharisees had heard all the stories before. They knew the Scripture better than anyone. He did not reiterate the Old Testament stories to them because he didn’t think they knew them but because he wanted to show them what they were missing. The Pharisees’ relationship with God was centered around the temple—what they gave, how they acted, and what they sacrificed. Stephen reminded them that Joseph was close to God, even when there was no temple. Our God is not stuck inside four walls of a religious building. He is a relational God, and He always has been.
How many times do we fall into the same trap as the Pharisees, assessing the depth of our faith based on our church attendance instead of our trust in God? Stephen was showing the Pharisees that there was more to a relationship with God than keeping commands in a temple. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament and the One who lives inside of all followers of Jesus. Throughout both the Old and the New Testaments, God showed He is in the business of redeeming. You may not see how the pieces come together, like the Pharisees, but God is not satisfied with brokenness. He wants to redeem hurt and change the heart of stone. Trust Him to do that work in your life today.
- What might have caused the Pharisees to miss where their history pointed to Jesus? How are we susceptible to missing the truth about Jesus?
- Have do you measure the depth of your faith?
- Pray and ask God to remind you that His relationship with you is not based on your performance.