Deacon Stephen the First Deacon
Deacon Stephen continues to narrate the history of the Children of Israel to the religious people of his time.
He plans to take his story to the point where he could preach Jesus Christ, the Son of God to them.
Today, let’s continue with our Book of Acts, Bible Study as the first deacon, Stephen, continues to preach Jesus Christ to the Jews.
Our major Bible reference is Acts 7:8-18.
So, naturally, Deacon Stephen starts his account with their forefather Abraham.
As a result, he tells us that God “gave [Abraham] the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs” (Acts 7:8).
Deacon Stephen Speaks of Covenant of Circumcision
Today, many male Christians feel that they must circumcise. They read much about it in the Scriptures. But no Scripture instruct any Believer to circumcise. Therefore, for us, it is a personal decision. Sometimes it’s a medical one.
Nevertheless, the Jews have no such liberty. The Lord God gave them the “Covenant of Circumcision” (Acts 7:8 & Genesis 17:1-27 ). He instructed them to circumcise all male children eight days after their birth. This is not an option.
Consequently, this is an agreement between the Children of Israel (Jacob) and God forever, (Genesis 17:13).
Deacon Stephen continues to traverse the genealogical tree of the Hebrews people. So, now he is at Joseph.
Now Deacon Stephen Makes an Introduction
“The patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house” (Acts 7:9-10).
As a result, Joseph is such an important link in the ancestral chain of Israel that one could hardly discuss their history and not mention him.
Additionally, many Christians feel that once you are a Believer everything in your life is going to flow smoothly. Nonsense!
Observe Joseph’s life. He experienced “afflictions” one after the other. The Lord didn’t spare him from them. He went through them.
But he wasn’t alone. The Lord was always with him. Therefore, we read “but God was with him“, and note that He “delivered him out of all his afflictions” (Acts 7:9-10).
We Are Never Alone
You are never alone. If you continue to trust in the Lord, He is always with you. And He will deliver you.
“Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance” (Acts 7:11).
Then, Deacon Stephen introduced their “Fathers”. These are the eleven “patriarchs” plus Joseph.
“But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first” (Acts 7:12).
Next, Pharaoh makes a grand entrance into the history of Israel. How can we discuss the beginning of this nation’s great history and not mention “Pharaoh”?
Even though “Pharaoh” is a title like Prime Minister, but here, the Bible uses it as a name. He is the king of Egypt.
Joseph Sent for All His Relatives
“And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh” (Acts 7:13).
From a humble beginning of seventy-five people comes a nation of millions. Awesome!
“Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls” (Acts 7:14).
Everything happens in its proper time. None of the early fathers who went down into Egypt saw the promise of God to Abraham come true.
“So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers” (Acts 7:15).
“And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem” (Acts 7:16).
Nothing Happens by Chance
“But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph” (Acts 7:17-18).
Yes, the Lord God is in everything. You just need to know where to look to see Him at work. Who could have told those Israelites that the explosion in their birth rate and even the actions of the Egyptians against them were in the plans of God?
Nothing happens by chance. Can you identify the work of God in the current situations of your life?
They may seem dark and dismal but God has not abandoned you. He is working it out for you.
Your responsibility: stay focused. Believe in Him and trust Him. Your time is not God’s time. But make God’s time your time through expectations and faith in Him.
The Story that Preach Jesus Christ – the Son of God
Finally, each of the Hebrews Fathers makes a contribution to their rich history. Abraham, Isaacs, Joseph and so on, all contributed to their nation. And ultimately to the preaching that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Even Deacon Stephen, in scriptures above, is making his contribution to the story which preaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Ultimately, we cannot preach Christ and not tell of their obedience and faith in God.
However, what is your input to this story? How are you building on the foundation that is Jesus Christ?
In closing, reg