While reading the book of Acts, I noticed themes about God’s character and mankind’s propensity towards sin. I was in chapter seven after the Sanhedrin falsely accuse Stephen of blasphemy.
The high priest asks Stephen, “Are these things true?” In answer, Stephen gives a speech. He details Israelite history showing a pattern of Jewish rejection of God’s favored people, just like they rejected Jesus. In my heart, as Stephen tells about Joseph’s rejection, the words jumped off the page.
“But God was with him and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom. . .” (Acts 7:9b-10, CSB).
In the retelling of Old Testament history, God’s character shines—God is a Rescuer. He rescued Abraham from being childless, Isaac by providing a ram, Joseph out of prison, Jacob and his relatives from famine, three-month-old Moses from death in the Nile, and He rescued the nation of Israel.
Unfortunately, there’s a parallel history of mankind rebelling toward God. Sarah arrogantly laughs when hearing of a promised child; Jacob and Rebekah deceive Isaac to gain the blessing; Moses disobeys the LORD by striking the rock twice, and the Israelites continually murmur in discontent.
Stephen ends with a strong rebuke, “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your ancestors did, you do also” (Acts 7:51, CSB). His statement is as fitting and relevant today as it was during the writing of the New Testament.
Dear Reader, I hope this summary highlights how merciful the LORD is towards humanity. We each deserve His judgment and wrath, yet He is long-suffering. Will you heed the sharp reproach as a cautionary warning? We are drowning in sin and our Savior is watching and waiting for us to call out for help. He hears and rescues those who call upon Him. Let’s gratefully come to the LORD because He deserves glory and honor forever.
Dear Father God, thank You for loving us and making a rescue plan for all humanity. Put in me a desire to listen and obey. Holy Spirit, help me resist the evil one rather than You. Give me faith to trust You, contentment in Your provisions, and joy in Your righteousness. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Genesis 17:15-22, God promises Abraham a child.
Genesis 18:1-15, Sarah laughs in disbelief at the LORD’s message.
Genesis 22:1-14, God provides a ram to rescue Isaac.
Genesis 27:1-38, Jacob deceitfully obtains his brother Esau’s birthright blessing.
Genesis 41:14-24, God rescues Joseph from prison.
Genesis 45:8-18, God rescues Jacob and his family from famine.
Exodus 2:1-7, God rescues Moses from the Nile river.
Exodus 12:31-42, the Israelites are freed from slavery.
Numbers 20:1-12, in anger, Moses displeases God.
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