17 “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. 19 He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. 20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds. 23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. 30 “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ (Acts 7:17-34)
History of Israel 2. The Training of Moses for Leadership
Stephen has been accused of blasphemy against Moses and God. So now he describes how carefully God chose, directed and prepared the life of his man, Moses, with the result that the once-proud prince became Israel’s greatest leader.
a. As a babe he was rescued in a remarkable way
b. The lion-like mature man had to be tamed. For another 40 years he earned his living as an exile and shepherd for his father-in-law, and learned to be a humble servant. (Moses wrote the story of these years in the book of Exodus, chapters 2 and 3)
c. Then an angel drew Moses to a burning bush, and he abased himself. So God spoke to him, “I am the God of your people (in Hebrew language, the ‘Yahweh, I am God’). Now go and save the Israelites, my people.” (Read the story in the book of Exodus, chapter 3)
Editor’s note: God describes himself as “I am”. I.e. He is what he is; so he is truly himself (rang dgnos nges). He is not dependent, but self-established (rang bzhin gyis grub pa).