Austin capitol memorial.
Sunday, 1 May 2022
For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. Acts 7:25
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Stephen’s previous words were that of Moses defending one of the Israelites by striking down an Egyptian. With that, he continues by saying, “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.”
Again, as with the previous verse, the translation does not follow the action of the Greek which includes present tense verbs. It is active and alive, and it is better rendered, “and he was supposing his brothers might understand that God, through his hand is giving salvation. But they did not understand.” Despite the translation, we will continue with the NKJV, beginning with, “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood.”
Moses certainly was known to have been of Israel. That can be inferred from the words of Exodus 2:14 where Moses is set in contrast to the Egyptian. Being of Israelite birth, he then must have assumed that they would acknowledge this and welcome him as one of their own. However, such was not the case. Not knowing their attitude would be unaccepting, after defending his brother Israelite, he thought that surely they were seeing “that God would deliver them by his hand.”
In his thinking, it seemed obvious: “I was born of Israel. I was drawn out of the Nile and rescued from death. I have been raised in Pharaoh’s house and understand the culture of Egypt. These people will recognize that I have taken their side and see that I am here to provide salvation from their oppressors.” It is a logical possibility of what went on in Moses’ mind. And yet, Stephen says, “but they did not understand.”
Stephen’s words are certainly given to tie what Moses did to the coming of Jesus. He was born an Israelite, He was obviously well learned despite not being schooled (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:2). He also had come to free the people from their bondage, and so on. And yet Israel “did not understand.” The parallel is being expressed right to the faces of the leading council of the nation, and yet they sat there not comprehending in the slightest what Stephen was talking about.
Life application: Presuppositions lead to cognitive dissonance. When we suppose we know what is correct about a matter, such as a particular doctrine in the Bible, we will then close out anything from coming in and challenging what we think we know. That is cognitive dissonance. It is a state of mental discomfort resulting from being exposed to conflicting attitudes, beliefs, values, and so on.
We don’t want to think we are wrong, and so we mentally shut off opposing views without due consideration. If we believe that Jesus is not God, we will be prone to shutting out any thought that refutes or challenges our belief. This will go so far as denying the obvious.
Using the blue sky as an analogy, we know that it being blue is perfectly evident. It is something anyone will acknowledge who is honestly willing to admit. But if someone has been told that the sky is brown, and that is what he has accepted, he will shut out anything that clashes with his presupposition.
The same is true with any biblical doctrine. The Bible teaches that the rapture and other end-times events will happen in a particular sequence. This sequence is perfectly understandable as it has been laid out by Paul. It actually takes little effort to grasp what he outlines. And yet, there are many, many views on when the rapture will occur.
When a person is presented with a suitable explanation of the proper outline, if he already believes it is different, then the black and white words on the paper mean very little to him. They will be ignored or argued against with fallacious thinking, irrelevant side arguments, and so on. The true and correct reading will be ignored and even belittled.
Let us be willing to acknowledge that maybe we are wrong. We should then be willing to consider other options until they have been fully researched and proven right or wrong. As the word says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Lord God, help us to put aside incorrect ideas about what is presented in Your word. Until we have done the hard work, may we be willing to acknowledge that what we initially believed may – in fact – be wrong. Your word is big and complicated, and we are prone to error. But You give more grace when we will humble ourselves and acknowledge our errors. Thank You for Your grace. Amen.