This week’s notes have been provided by Andy Hallett. The passage can be read here.
Stephen’s knowledge of the scriptures was very evident from his defence. He reminds his hearers of God’s dealings with his people. Moses one of the great heroes of the Jewish faith initially had been rejected by the Israelites (v35) but God stepped in, appointing Moses as leader of God’s people. Moses led his people out of Egypt with many wonders and signs, yet Stephen a man full of God’s grace and power who had performed signs in front of God’s people was now on trial.
Forty years in Midian (v30)
Moses had fled to Midian, spent forty years on the run avoiding Egyptian justice for killing an Egyptian that had been beating a Jew. During this time God looked after Moses providing him with a wife, children and some sheep to look after. He settled in a foreign land far away from God’s people. Perhaps during his exile he would learn many lessons as he looked after sheep which would prepare him for leading God’s sheep the Israelites.
Moses’ greatest need was to come back to God and be with his people. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, told him that he was to return to the God of his father’s, and he was to return to Egypt.
Forty years in the wilderness.
He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.” (V36)
What a good start that the Israelites had, imagine seeing the sights that they saw. Moses telling mighty hard hearted Pharaoh- God says let my people free. God sending ten plagues (wonders and signs) to set his people free. The Israelites even see the Red Sea parted so they can be led to safety whilst the pursuing Egyptian army all drown in the chase. Yet not too long later they are moaning to Moses and Aaron saying it would have been better if they had died in Egypt as soon as they are challenged by some enemies.
Stephen showed a gracious resilience when he was challenged unfairly by a crooked court and pointed his accusers to the Lord Jesus. His challenges led him into a deeper trusting relationship with God. Soon Stephen would enter into God’s promised rest- heaven
If we have wandered away from God what will it take to bring us back to him and to his people? Do we have friends or family that currently are having a ‘Midian’ experience. Let’s be open to God using us to graciously call wanderers back to God and his people. There is much rejoicing over every prodigal that returns
Lord teach us to stay close to you and to utilise challenges to increase our faith pointing our accusers to Jesus.