Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Acts 7:30-34 (NRSV)
“Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.’
Good Old Days
We have often been reminded not to live in the past, that time so often referred to as the “Good Old Days.” We’ve heard the stories from when life was so much different and safer, and families spent more time together, and doors could be left unlocked. Persons go on and on about how great those days were, you almost wonder if they wouldn’t want to go back in time.
Now, while I don’t believe we should be living in the past, it is important for us to see how the past has helped shape who we are today. That’s what Stephen is doing in this short passage from Acts.
This is only a short part of a sermon he is preaching to those who claim he is speaking against God. I feel certain he knows he won’t change their minds, but his sermon focuses on the presence of God throughout their history. Here he reminds them that God called Moses from a burning bush and sent him to free the enslaved.
I think Stephen’s words and the crowd’s reaction serve as a reminder for all of us that God is ever present and not limited to our understanding. Just as God called Moses to free the slaves, he called Stephen to teach the listeners about Jesus. They didn’t want to hear it because they were still in the “good old days.” As the Israelites were wandering out of Egypt, they whined that at least in slavery they had food and shelter. Again, they were stuck in the “good old days.” May we be open to the presence of God who speaks and calls us to look forward, learning from what has happened behind us, realizing that things do change, and they will, whether we like it or not.
Almighty God, give us the courage to face the challenging call you place before us, even when we don’t like what you are calling us to do. Help us see more clearly and focus more dearly on who we are called to be in the world. Amen.
Go with God!