Tom: In this our Understanding the Scripture segment, we are in the Book of Acts 7. We are going to pick up with verse 33. This is, of course, Stephen before his accusers, and he’s giving them a synopsis, in effect, of what has gone on in Jewish history in the Old Testament.
“Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from they feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.” And of course, Moses is standing before the burning bush and God is speaking to him. Verse 34: “I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.”
Dave: Hmm. Well, I guess that’s the last place Moses wanted to go. He has fled as a murderer…
Tom: Forty years before.
Dave: Right. Price on his head - well, maybe that Pharaoh was dead. It doesn’t really tell us, but God has been dealing with Moses. I’m sure He taught him a lot back there in the wilderness.
Tom: Working with sheep and goats may be a prerequisite for working with the people he is going to have to work with.
Dave: Yeah, be a shepherd over them. Well, Tom, I find this phrase that is repeated twice very significant. I get a little bit facetious and I pretend, you know… “Oh, you know what Moses said when God called him: he says, ‘Oh, it’s about time you realized I am the man for the job.’” No, if you think that way, God has not called you.
Moses said, “Who am I?” And Steven isn’t going into that here, but Moses said, “Who am I? Don’t send me, get another deliverer. I’m no deliverer. Somebody else…I can’t even talk,” he says in the next chapter.
Tom: Well, Moses knew he tried it once, and it blew up in his face because he did his way, not God’s way.
Dave: Right. God says, “Look, Moses, I’m not sending you back to Egypt because you are the great deliverer, and I’m not going to give you some specific training here, you know, to make you a great deliverer. I’m not going to give you an army or anything.” Actually, Moses is called the meekest man on the face of the earth. Amazing that he was a meek man, and yet he stood up for his people. God says, “Moses, I have seen the affliction of my people. I have heard their groaning. I am come down to deliver them, and I’m going to give you the privilege of being the one that I will use. You are going to go and confront the mightiest emperor on this earth in his palace, and I’m going to use you, meekest man on the earth, to deliver my people so that no man will have the credit. You’re not going to have the credit, Moses. I will get the credit for this, because I am going to reveal myself to the Egyptians so that they will know who I really am. I have seen, I have seen, I have heard, I am come down,” God says in verse 34, “and I will send thee into Egypt.”
Tom: Verse 35: “This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? The same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” That’s a prophetic statement.
Dave: Yeah, we’ve got a principle here that God gives us pictures in the Old Testament of the Messiah, and this is what Stephen is leading up to, and which is going to cause him to be stoned by these people who have rejected Christ. They have crucified the Lord, and he is going to indict them with that.
But it’s so fantastic, Tom, as you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, written by 40 different men who came from different times in history, different cultures, they only had one thing in common: they claimed to be inspired by the one true God. And all through the Bible the themes that are woven without contradiction, and here we have Moses as a picture of the Messiah who had come. What happened to Moses? He was rejected, and Stephen is going to indict them with rejecting Jesus. He’s going to point out that “this Jesus that you crucified, He is the very prophet that Moses said would come, and He came in fulfillment of this and many other prophecies.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. Verse 38: “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us…”
Dave: Yeah, it’s amazing! You know, the Messiah…and I often - I guess I use facetious language; I often say, “Jesus didn’t step off of a UFO and say, ‘Voila, here I am!’ He came with a pedigree, He came with a whole history - ancestors in fulfillment of prophecy, the Jewish people. People say, “Why did God choose them?” Well, He had to choose someone. Abraham is called the friend of God. He believed God, and so God used him to bring the Messiah into the world.
David, who, in spite of his sin with Bathsheba, nevertheless was a man after God’s own heart, and who obeyed the Lord, and God used him to bring the Messiah into this world. And so he is just pointing them… “Look, these are your ancestors! You are the children of the prophets. I’m not telling you anything that isn’t in your law, I’m pointing out to you what your own Scriptures have said.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. And of course that’s the oracles that God gave to the Jews, the Word of God.
Dave: “And to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust Him from them and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.” Now he is talking about later on in the wilderness. These people - God had miraculously delivered them with the plagues, He fed them, He protected them when the Egyptian houses - the angel of death came and killed the first born. He took them through the Red Sea, He gave them manna every day - miraculous, except on the seventh day…
Dave: …and yet they rebelled, and they wanted to go back to Egypt. Tom, it’s incredible what happened at the base of Mount Sinai. In their hearts they turned back again into Egypt, Verse , “Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not [we don’t know] what is become of him.” He was up on Mount Sinai in the presence of God receiving the law. They had just heard God speak with an audible voice, thundering from the mountain the Ten Commandments. They had all promised that they would obey, and they were in fear and trembling. None of them would dare to go up on that mountain. This is the God who brought us through the Red sea, who delivered us from Egypt, and He has spoken to us now, and the very first commandment is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And what do they do?
Tom: Verse 41: “And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
Dave: Tom, every time I read this or think of it, it is unfathomable. People often say…and I remember John Wimber (died some years ago) got into this whole signs and wonders movement - it’s a big movement. Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, and so forth, all these people, Benny Hinn - and one of the delusions behind it is if people could just see miracles, then they would really believe. There was no one who saw miracles like the children of Israel. Just imagine the Red Sea opening up in front of you; you walk through on dry land, and then when the Egyptians were pursing you, [it] comes in and drowns them. Manna every day; being led by a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night that literally tells you where to camp; a rock that opens up, and water gushes out of this rock to satisfy the thirst of these people; miracle after miracle after miracle: hearing God speak with an audible voice from the mountain, and no one was so rebellious, so disobedient to God as these people who saw all the miracles - and of Jesus who came in fulfillment of prophecies. It says, “Though He did so many miracles among them, yet they believed Him not.”
Tom: Dave, are we any different today? Some people say, “Hey, if I had had all of those signs and wonders, I wouldn’t have done that.”
Dave: Well, Tom, it speaks to my heart.