Stephen’s Sermon–Moses Identifies with God’s Chosen People

At church one morning, my friend Gwen was about to start her 4-year-olds’ Sunday school class when a little boy showed up without any identification. Gwen managed to get his first name, but couldn’t find out his last name. “Brian, what’s your daddy’s … More

Identification

Stephen summed up the characteristics of Joseph in two words-grace and wisdom.

a.      Grace in its simplest form means beauty.  Its nearest English equivalent is charm. It would have been extremely easy for him to become embittered. But he dealt faithfully with each duty as it emerged, serving with equal devotion as slave or as prime minister.

b.     There is no word more difficult to define than wisdom. But the life of Joseph gives us the clue to its meaning. In essence, wisdom is the ability to see things as God sees them.

 

A major portion of Stephen’s sermon pertained to Moses and the Exodus. When Moses was born, the order by Pharaoh was that every male baby was to be killed at birth. Moses’ mother, Jochebed, hid him at home for three months (v. 20). Then she placed him in a little ark and placed him in the water. It was there that Pharaoh’s daughter found him and took him to the palace to raise (v. 21).

 

It was here that Moses “learned all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (v.22). He gave up the throne to meet Israel’s need, just as our Lord did many years later. It was not curiosity that took Moses from the palace to Goshen, but it was because he wanted to be identified with his people. As he tried to bring about reconciliation among his people, his ministry was regarded as meddling. He was greatly misunderstood, as his own people thought he had stepped out of the royalty where he had been living just to make them feel more wretched and to judge them. Instead he had come to identify himself with them and to save them (vv. 23-29). This same thing happened to our Lord years later.

Application

Ask - Are my primary interest and goals centered upon the things of this life like Moses had in the palace, or am I identifying with the people of God and the will of God?

Acts 7:20-29 (English Standard Version)

At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds. "When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?' But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons."

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