Tom: In this our Understanding the Scriptures segment, we’re in the Book of Acts 7, and last week, Dave, we settled in on 24, where [unintelligible] but I don’t know that we explained it. Anyway, I’ll read verse 24, and this is Stephen speaking. He’s speaking to those who have arrested him, and he’s giving them a synopsis of biblical history.
Dave: Their own history.
Tom: Right. Verse 24: “And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian,” Stephen talking about Moses here, “for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.”
Dave: Well, Stephen is building up to something, of course. He is preaching Christ to them out of this, and we’ll get to it. I’m seeing how they rejected Moses; they didn’t understand who he was. That’s quite a statement. We discussed that last week: “For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” Moses apparently had that understanding; God had revealed it to him, but he was going about it in not quite the right way. It would take a long time to kill the Egyptians one by one. This was an impulsive act on his part, but now the word is out, and everybody knows that he is the one who did it. That word will get to Pharaoh; he’s got his spies everywhere. And then Moses is - that’s the end of his deliverance ministry. So he flees from Egypt…
Tom: Forty years, Dave. He had a long time to be held back to being the deliverer that God wanted him to be.
Dave: He learned a lot back there in the desert.
Tom: Working with sheep and goats.
Dave: Yeah, and finally God reveals Himself to him at the burning bush, and brings him back to Egypt to be the deliverer that Moses understood he was to be, but he went about it in the wrong way.
Tom: Dave, an interesting aspect of this is Moses having been raised and educated within the palace of the Pharaoh; he could have been an uppity guy. Certainly his impulse to take things into his own hand and end up killing the Egyptian says he may have had an ego, but then after 40 years in Sinai working with sheep and goats, I think the Scripture says he’s one of the meekest men on the face of the earth.
Dave: I think it says he was the meekest. That’s why God chose him [unintelligible], to lead His people out of Egypt. He could plant the mightiest emperor or, as you said, in his palace, on his turf, and to bring those people out of there, out of slavery.
Tom: So he was educated, but now he needed to be humbled, because unless we’re humble, God can’t use us, right?
Dave: Yes, I’m afraid so. Paul, of course, must have been the humblest of the humble. He said, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Tom: And, Dave, out of that humility, he could say, “Follow me as I follow Christ. Those things which you see in me, those things you do.” Wow!
Verse 30: “And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.”
Dave: Well, it’s interesting, Tom, having so much of the rest of the Word - kind of giving a light touch here, moving along - but, “I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” It never says He’s the God of Ishmael. It never says He’s the God of anybody else.
In fact, we have this statement 12 times in the Bible, maybe because of the 12 tribes - I don’t know. But this is the first time it is stated, and that’s in Exodus 3. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And you remember Jesus used that phrase when He was having a discussion with the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, and Jesus said, “Well, then God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” It is evident, because He called Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So He certainly wouldn’t be referring to them as they were dead. He wouldn’t be their God; they’re finished.
“And Moses trembles and durst not behold…” Tom, we don’t have time to talk about it - we've talked about it a bit in the past, but it keeps coming up through the Scriptures that… You know, the controversy in the Middle East - it’s a people who call themselves Palestinians. They’re not. There never was a Palestinian nation. People are writing these [unintelligible]. We’ve been through that. These are Arabs, and they’re descended, they say, from Ishmael. Well, Ishmael was not a Palestinian. His father was Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees; his mother was Hagar from Egypt. So Ishmael was certainly not a Palestinian by any means. And in fact, there were no Palestinians, there were Canaanites, and Canaan had already been settled before Abraham came along with his wife and his maids and menservants and so forth, so it’s a lie; it’s a total fraud.
But the Bible is very clear over and over and over: God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Two hundred and three times He calls Himself the God of Israel, and that relates to something we were talking about at the very beginning: the kingdom. And not every Calvinist, but most Calvinists - this is a reformed theology, that God is finished with these Jews. Well, God’s integrity is tied to Israel! He has gone on record, and He tells us that Israel - this is Jeremiah:31:35 - Israel will never cease to be a nation, or there’s no stars in the sky, there’s no sun, there’s no moon, and so forth. The whole natural order is finished if Israel ever ceases to be a nation.
So here again, He’s called the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. You’ll never hear Him called the God of the Americans, or the French, or the Muslims, the Arabs - the “God of Israel” 203 times. And this is God speaking to him.
[Unintelligible] revelation involves…we don’t know how much God has been able to say to Moses before this time, but this is something new, a transformation, that’s coming over Moses. That’s his time, because God has revealed Himself to him. And he says to Moses, “Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground.” That’s simply awesome.
And then he says, “I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt. I have heard their groaning, and have come down to deliver them, and now come: I will send thee to Egypt.”
So you know, Tom, facetiously I often say, “Moses didn’t say, ‘Well, I guess I’m the guy for the job.’” You know? Moses said, “I can’t do it. I’m no good.” It’s not Moses who is going to do it. God says, “I have seen the affliction, I have come down to deliver My people, and I’m going to give you the privilege of being the one that I am going to use.” It’s not me, it’s not self, but it’s God who will do it through us. [Unintelligible]