Abraham

It means something very different when our Creator, God, says “Trust me!” Or, at least, it should.

When the salesman says, with a wink and a nod, “Trust me!” it means one thing. Many times we conclude that this person cannot be trusted. We need more evidence from an ‘independent source.’

STEPHEN BEGINS HIS DEFENSE

As Stephen begins his reply to the accusations leveled against him he begins with common ground: Abraham. God had appeared to Abram, telling him to leave everything that was familiar to him and go to a place where he had never been. So, at 75 years of age, Abram left his relatives and traveled to Canaan (Genesis 12:4-5).

Childless at 75 years old God tells Abram that he will give the land to his descendants (Gen. 12:7). In fact, his descendants, God tells him, will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. So, “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:5-6). Stephen recounts that God’s promise of making a great nation from Abram’s descendants would take more than 400 years.

HISTORY OF MANKIND BEFORE ABRAM

The history of mankind before Abram illustrates man’s desire to create his own destiny by his own rules. In the first round God determines that the only way to correct mankind’s course is to destroy it and start over with Noah and his family (Genesis 6:1-8). In round two the tower of Babel leads to God’s decision to confuse man’s languages in order to throttle mankind’s ambition (Genesis 11:1-9).

SHARPENED FOCUS

In the midst of this time of confusion and uncertainty, God specifically sharpens His focus upon one man and his barren wife (Genesis 12-15). With this sharpened focus, Stephen continues, God builds a nation through Isaac, Joseph and the patriarchs that spans more than 400 years (Acts 7:1-19).

With his sights set upon his concluding remarks regarding the temple, Stephen builds his case for recognizing that the God they all serve is not limited to a building or place. This is something they would all acknowledge in principle; but, something had happened to lead them to view Herod’s temple differently. Somehow, Israel’s fascination with things they made with their own hands (Acts 7:41, 48) had occluded their view of God’s plans for the world.

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