At first glance this reading looks “just like a history lesson.” It is part of a speech delivered by Stephen, a leader of the early church, just before he was stoned by his angry listeners. It’s helpful to remember, though, a couple things; God led Stephen to remind his listeners of their history, and in addition, God inspired the writer of the book of Acts to record this history for us to read today.
It’s the story of Moses. In this time of the year when we celebrate the accomplishments of our beloved school graduates, here is Moses’ eulogy from Deut. 34:10- the Lord knew Moses face to face. It kind of makes me think. We all want to be unique, and Deut. 34:10 says that Moses was unique in this regard; he was given the gift of being close to God.
Today’s passage recounts a part of Moses’ life that wasn’t so easy. His people were cruelly oppressed in Egypt. Moses himself made mistakes, like jumping right in there for his peoples’ cause by murdering an Egyptian, then fleeing to Midian for forty years.
We don’t know a lot about those forty years. It seems like a long time to us but during those years, Moses started becoming someone who God knows. This time in Moses’ life ended one day when Moses saw a burning bush and heard the Lord’s voice calling Moses to lead His people. We know that the next years didn’t get easier for Moses, but we know that God was close to Moses. We know that God was with the Israelites. We know that God wants us to listen to the stories and learn from them like Stephen wanted his listeners to do.
If we think back on our own family history we can see where God was with us and with our families. At this time of year, sometimes we have time to sit a little more. We make scrapbooks (perhaps), or write in journals, or sit outdoors, and think. May we spend time with God, and enjoy being close to Him, and give Him thanks and have a listening heart to what He wants us to do.