But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose who did not know Joseph. This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's ho
use for three months. But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
"Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?'*
Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord* appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, 'I am the God of your fathers — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'* And Moses trembled and dared not look. 'Then the Lord said to him, "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt."'*
"This Moses whom they rejected, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?'* is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
Bible Study Outline: Study Outline for the Book of Acts Chapter 7 (Part Two)
Continuation: Stephen’s Response to the Sanhedrin Council’s Accusation
In the first part of this Bible Study, Stephen, one of the 7 chosen men that were ordained as deacons in the New Testament church grew in wisdom and knowledge. The Spirit of Lord (Holy Spirit) empowered him so, Stephen, full of God’s grace and power did great wonders and miracles among the people.
A group from one of the synagogues in Jerusalem (Synagogue of the Freedmen) contended with Stephen and argue with him, but could not prevail against him. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
While lying on him, stirring up fear in a frenzy hostile crowd, and making the false accusation of ‘Blasphemy against God, the temple, and Moses, Stephen now stands before the Sanhedrin Council answering in his defense against these trumped up charges:
Stephen Continues in His Defense: “The Call of Moses” and “Israel’s Deliverance”(vs. 17- 35)The Birth and Call of Moses: “The First 40 Years” (vs. 17- 22)
"But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose who did not know Joseph. (vs. 17- 18)
The “Time of Promise” was the time when they were to be formed into a people (Israel). During the first two hundred and fifteen years after the promise made to Abraham, the children of the covenant were increased but to seventy (Jacob’s seed the 12 sons and their families); but in the latter two hundred and fifteen years they increased to six hundred thousand fighting men. At the time of the Exodus the Israelites were all descendants of Jacob, comprised of all the children from the 12 sons still living. Their Fathers were all deceased. (Ruben, Gad, Dan, Naptali, Zebulon, Judah, Benjamin, Joseph, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Asher)
Point of Power: Concerning God’s Providence
God’s Providence is sometimes the most quickest when it comes nearest the center. God can (at His sole discretion) change the course of events in the same manner He can change the amount of actual time it takes to bring any promised event to their actual occurrence. God moves according to His allotted intervals of time between the promises to fulfillment.
Point or Power: Because the Lord is in “complete control” of every circumstance:
We must learn how to wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Never be discouraged at the “perceived” slowness of progress and the proceedings towards the ultimate accomplishment of God's promises. We tend to get frustrated when it seems that “unscheduled’ events and misfortunes cause a dramatic shift in our life’s perceived direction and goals. Whatever losses we occur because we chose to follow the path God has set for us will work out for our ultimate good according to Romans 8:28:
2 Important things to Remember:
- God knows how to redeem the time that seems to have been lost, and, when the year or other “appointed” time of the redeemed is at hand, God can do a double work in a single day. Job found this out in Job Chapter 41.
- For the Israelites, it was in Egypt, where they were oppressed, and ruled with rigor; when their lives were made so bitter to them that, one would think, they should have wished to be written childless, yet they married and have a resemblance of life, in faith that God in due time would visit them, then rescue them. God blessed them, who honored him, saying, be fruitful, and multiply.
- Believe it or not…”suffering times have often been the best growing times that occur within the church body”.
Read Acts 8:4: And they that were scattered abroad because of the persecution went everywhere preaching the word.
Concerning this Pharaoh…..Attempted Genocide of the Israelites (vs. 19- 22)
“This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live”.
Pharaoh instructed the Israelite midwives to kill all the male children at birth. When that didn’t work He instructed his army to carry out the same task.
“At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. Moses was born when God was ready for him to be, for such a time like this.
- He was God’s chosen vessel to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.
- He was hidden by his mother for 3 months. When he could not be hidden any longer, at 3 months old, God protected him by putting in the mind of his mother to make an ark of bulrushes daubed with slime and pitch for him, then putting him in it and putting the ark in the flags (another type of papyrus reeds smaller than the ones used for food and making paper) in the Nile River where the Pharaoh’s daughter would see him. Miriam kept watch by the river.
- Pharaoh’s daughter saw the ark had it retrieved and when she opened up the ark, Moses cried. Jochebed was blessed to raise her own son, and got paid for it.
- Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses, raised as her son. Moses was taught and well educated in the Egyptian culture.
Concerning the Egyptians at this time in history:
The Egyptians were at that time the most intelligent and best instructed people on earth. This learning consisted of the mysteries of the Egyptian religion, arithmetic, geometry, poetry, music, medicine, and hieroglyphics. He was general of the Egyptian armies and defeated the Ethiopians who had invaded Egypt, according to Josephus. The learning of the Egyptians was confined chiefly to astrology, to the interpretation of dreams, to medicine, to mathematics, and to their sacred science or traditional doctrines about religion, which were concealed chiefly under their hieroglyphics.
Egyptian knowledge is equally celebrated throughout the pagan world. It is known that science was carried from Egypt to Phenicia, and there to Greece. Many of the Grecian philosophers traveled to Egypt in pursuit of knowledge. Herodotus a Greek Philosopher himself frankly conceded that the Greeks derived very much of their knowledge from Egypt.
Moses While in Egyptian Power as General of the Egyptian Army
Moses held a position of power in Egypt. This means that he was "eminent" in Egypt before he had a powerful encounter with God at the burning bush. After his return to Egypt to confront the new Pharaoh Moses and Aaron, empowered by the Spirit of God led the children of Israel forth out of Egypt. So, it refers to his addresses to Pharaoh, and to the miracles which he performed "before" their departure.
Remember: Moses was "slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." When it is said that he was mighty in words, it means that he was mighty in his communications to Pharaoh, as the powerful words God gave to Moses were spoken by his brother Aaron. Moses" addressed Pharaoh through him, who was appointed to deliver the message (Exodus 4:11-16)
Moses at 40 Years Old: “Rejected by His Brethren”( vs. 23-28)
1st Attempt at leading Israel: God placed them on his heart to pay them a visit. (vs. 23)
By this time he had, in the exercise of faith, deliberately "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
At some point, he found out that he was not an Egyptian. His heart, now yearning with love to his people as God's chosen family, and having, no doubt, he was aware that there was a divine mandate for him to set them free. He goes forth to face his people trying to convince them first that God was still with them and He sent him to lead them out of Egypt.
He defends one of his brethren who was being beaten by an Egyptian. (vs. 24)
Ironically, Egyptian law required the people to rescue anyone whom they should see ready to be slain, or suffering violence at the hands of another; and if that could not be done, to kill the oppressor. Apparently Moses initial intent was not to kill the Egyptian , but emotions ran higher than expected and in reaction to his anger, he killed the Egyptian.
What was Moses thinking? Moses supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. (vs. 25)
Moses learns his first lesson: Man sometimes fail to understand the timing of God and the methods God use to fulfill His purposed actions. God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Never assume you know the way God is going to take to deliver you or even use you to His glory. God is not limited to time, or methods.
Apparently, Moses thought that God had somehow told the Israelites that he was “that deliver” He was using and the act of justice Moses did in the behalf of his oppressed countryman would show them that he was now ready to lead them out of bondage…..
But the next day… Moses' learned his second lesson: “People” cannot be unified together by using force or by human efforts! God is the only one who can unify us.
The Apostle Paul gives us the “secret” how God unifies us:
Ephesians 4:1-6 Walk in Unity
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you* all”.
Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' "But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' (vs. 26- 29)
Note: The Jews found it hard to understand how this man Moses , who was brought up an Egyptian could have any sincere interest in them, given the cruel way the Egyptians treated them. They saw him as Egyptian, one of their oppressors. They didn’t recognize him as a Hebrew at this point.
Having renounced his Egyptian ties and now exposed as a killer and rejected by his brethren, Moses flees for his life and goes to Midian, marries Zipporah (Jethro's daughter) and has 2 sons while there. (Gershom and Eliezer)
- Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. (Sinai)
- He met the Angel of the Lord (God Himsef) in the midst of a burning bush.
When Moses saw it, (the burning bush) he wondered at the sight (of the bush that would not burn up or out) and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him. (vs. 31)
“I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (vs. 32)
Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. (vs. 33)
To put off the shoes; or sandals, was an act of reverence. The ancients were especially not permitted to enter a temple or holy place with their shoes on. Indeed, it was customary for the Jews to remove their shoes whenever they entered any house as a mere matter of civility.
I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt”.
- God assured Moses that He had not forgotten His people even though they were in Egypt, and that He would soon fulfill His covenant promises and deliver them.
- God reversed the judgment of Moses' kinsmen. They scorned him because they thought he was trying to act as a ruler and a judge; God made Moses a ruler and deliverer of his people from Egypt. Deliverer carries the idea of redeemed
“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”. (vs. 35)
Stephen says here, when Moses first presented himself to them, they rejected him, Stephen dwells upon this refusal to recognize Moses as the one God chose to lead them out of Egyptian bondage for 2 reasons:,
- To remind them that historically, this had been the character of their nation the Israelites had a bad habit of rejecting leaders He sent them. Moses whom they rejected became their only deliverer and ruler. Moses was the only ruler anointed to get them out of Egypt. They had been stiff necked and rebellious against God because they rejected Moses.
- Stephen uses this historic fact to show that in Jesus was their salvation and deliverance and yet, they rejected one they also rejected and crucified Him, their only present and eternal Savior. To be continued............