"Wisdom from God"
Today's reading: Acts 7:9-19 (NIV)
9"Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh King of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
11"Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family. 14After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.
17"As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
Here we see that Stephen is continuing to remind the Sanhedrin the story of their ancestry, possibly to emphasize that the Lord God had been in control of His relationship with them from the beginning. He was taking a great risk doing this as they were teachers of the law and most certainly were aware of history and didn’t need Stephen to remind them.
I am a middle child, fitting between two boys; it was my older brother than I seemed to pick on when I was in first and second grade. We played outside a lot and for some reason, I had the ability to tie him to a tree and he couldn’t get loose. I’d go off with the rest of the neighborhood kids and the fun would continue. Inevitably my brother would get free and go tattle on me. Siblings sometimes do hang each other out to dry. Some things never seem to change.
What I see as important in this refresher course to the Sanhedrin is first, God gave Joseph wisdom and the goodwill of the king; secondly, Joseph eventually forgave his brothers for abandoning him and sent them for his father Jacob to bring the entire family out of the famine. This was a very rough society to live in, jealousy, even though not mentioned in the scriptures, had to be prevalent or why would the brothers have done such a thing, or why would the Pharaoh force the people to get rid of their newborn babies.
I have experienced jealousy in my own life in the past and I can say it is an emotion that can take everything good about a person and throw it to the wind. How we react to our jealous feelings certainly makes or breaks a relationship. God will give us wisdom if we only ask and He will also give us the ability to forgive our family members that become strangers to us. Take a little time this day and make a note of those family members you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from. Then begin the journey to release yourself from bondage and follow God’s direction knowing He will fulfill his promises to you.
Aldersgatechurch, Nixa, MO.