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God's Strategic Promise-Fulfillment

Acts 7:17-22
'As the time drew near for God to fulfil his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. Then "a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt" He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. ‘At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for by his family. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.' (NIVUK)

Stephen did not need to defend himself at his trial. His job was to proclaim that God always keeps His Word. The Sanhedrin court claimed to believe in God's promises, so Stephen reminded them of the way in which God fulfilled His promise in their national history - preparing them to hear that Jesus was God's promised 'Righteous One', even though they had rejected Him (Acts 7:52-53). It was their opportunity to repent and choose to follow Jesus.

Today's verses span the 400 years from Joseph to Moses. Under Joseph, Egypt was saved from catastrophic famine. In thanks, the Pharaoh invited Joseph's father, Jacob, and all his family, to live in Egypt. God had promised to create a nation of many people, and each generation swelled the Israelite population. Eventually the Egyptians saw those immigrants as a threat. So they were used as slaves to build the treasure cities of Egypt and all male babies were killed.

Moses should have been drowned. But his mother made a waterproof cot and hid him in the reeds bordering the River Nile, where Pharaoh's daughter found him (Exodus 1:1-2:10). He became a prince in Egypt, a well-educated leader and effective communicator. It was all part of God's plan to fulfil His promise to Abraham. 215 years after He had told Abraham that his descendants would be too many to count (Genesis 15:5), only 70 (Exodus 1:5) were counted through the line of faith. But after the next 215 years, there were 600,000 fighting men and all their families (Numbers 11:21). Egypt was a painful time of growth: but it was all part of God's plan. And Moses was saved and trained so that he could save God's people.

God works amazingly to achieve His purposes. He allows suffering but brings people through it stronger and more able to work with Him. His timetable is perfect. Although we cannot make sense of it at the time, He knows how long it takes to do what is necessary. He saves people so that they can help to save other people. His ability to turn tragedy into triumph is awesome. So whatever our situation, we should know that the Lord is at work, in us and in our circumstances. We simply need to trust Him. As we do, others will see that we really do believe that He is in command of everything, and that He will keep His promises.

Father God. Thank You that I can trust You to keep Your Word. Forgive me for being anxious when I cannot understand what You are doing. Please help me to have the faith to believe You do know what You are doing, and enable me to keep on trusting You through the pain and uncertainty. One day I will be so glad that You have fulfilled all Your promises, and privileged to be involved in Your great plan. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams