Stephen at the Third Phase of Moses’ Life
Deacon Stephen continues his thesis on Israel. He has been tracing their history forward towards Jesus Christ. However, now he is
Moses’ life has three segments; however, Stephen is at the third phase, his final forty years. Let’s resume our Book of Acts Bible Study. Today, our primary reference is (Acts 7:36-43).
“[Moses] brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years” (Acts 7:36).
Moses is one of few people in the Bible who acknowledges himself as a prophet of God.
“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear” (Acts 7:37).
This prophet that Moses speaks about is Jesus Christ. Then, he further admonished them to obey him.
Jews Reminisce on the Third Phase of Moses’ Life
This prophecy of Moses is the reason the Pharisees sent representatives to John the Baptist.
“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No” (John 1:19-21).
They wanted to know if the prophet that Moses spoke of had come. However, when he came they didn’t obey him.
Now Deacon Stephen, continues to expound the role of Moses in the history of the Hebrew people. He is itemizing his fundamental roles. Therefore, he reminds them:
“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38).
Parallel Between Moses and Jesus Christ
As Deacon Stephen continues to narrate their roots, I can’t help but see a parallel between Moses and Jesus Christ.
The Jews in the wilderness knew that God was with Moses, yet they refused to obey him. They rejected his counsel and “and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt” (Acts 7:39).
“To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,” (Acts 7:39).
Similarly, the Jews in Jesus’ era knew that God was with him. They saw his many miracles and might works, yet they too rejected his counsel.
Nicodemus admits this to Jesus. He confesses:
“Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).
Indeed Jesus is that prophet that Moses informed Israel would come. He came but they didn’t obey him.
The Third Phase of Moses’ Life Filled With Problems
How easily we tend to forget the Lord God. The Jews easily discard what God did for them in Egypt and the Red Sea. Therefore, they request Aaron to make gods for them to worship.
They say to “Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Acts 7:40).
“And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands” (Acts 7:41).
“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?” (Acts 7:42).
The one thing that the Lord requires of us is obedience. Obey Him! Our obedience is worship of Him the one true and living Lord God.
Yea, ye Took up the Tabernacle of Moloch
“Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:43).
Idolatry is disobedience to the Lord God. He commands that we should have no other God besides Him. And anyone who worships and serves any other god has disobeyed the only true and living God: Christ Jesus or Lord.
And such an act has consequences. The Children of Israel know this first-hand. The Lord vows: “I will carry you away beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:43), because of their idolatry.
And the Babylonians enslaved them and carried them beyond Babylon.
Whom do you obey? Whom do you worship? Worship the Lord God and live forever with Him.
During the first forty years of Moses’ life, the Lord called him. This is not the same as when the angel of God spoke to him from the burning bush.
Instead, it’s that time when he became aware that God has an assignment for him. This was his awareness phase. He became aware that God has a specific purpose for his life.
The second phase of his life, the second forty years was a time of training. Preparation. Moses was in Median caring for sheep for forty years. At this point, Moses was eighty years old.
This was not wasted time. It was his training ground. God was teaching him how to lead His people from slavery to the Promised Land.
How Training Was Helpful in the Third Phase of Moses’ Life
And just as sheep are fickle so are people. The former would be going in one direction and for no apparent reason change course completely and go in the opposite direction.
Similarly, this minute the Israelites are worshipping the Lord God, but the next they are worshipping dumb idols.
Therefore, through his job as a shepherd the Lord was teaching Moses to be patient, caring, and how to lead His people.
Is God utilizing your day-to-day job to prepare you for a bigger and more important task ahead? Don’t treat it lightly. It may seem simple and mundane but God as a purpose for your life too. And your current job could be your preparation for it. Be content trusting Him.