The high priest asked, “Are these accusations true?” Stephen responded, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran. God told him, ‘Leave your homeland and kin, and go to the land that I will show you.’ So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After Abraham’s father died, God had him resettle in this land where you now live. God didn’t give him an inheritance here, not even a square foot of land. However, God did promise to give the land as his possession to him and to his descendants, even though Abraham had no child. God put it this way: His descendants will be strangers in a land that belongs to others, who will enslave them and abuse them for four hundred years. And I will condemn the nation they serve as slaves, God said, and afterward they will leave that land and serve me in this place. God gave him the covenant confirmed through circumcision. Accordingly, eight days after Isaac’s birth, Abraham circumcised him. Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. (Acts 7:1-8, CEB)
Descendants will be strangers in a land that belongs to others, who will enslave them and abuse them for four hundred years. And I will condemn the nation they serve as slaves…
God over and over again in the words of scripture tells us that we need to watch out for the orphan, the widow, the stranger, and the wanderer. We need to accept and unfold all into our lives and love as we are loved by God.
Abraham got no inheritance, but the promise was his descendants would get an inheritance after they were enslaved and mistreated. And yet we enslave and mistreat people all the time and say that is what God called us to do. We say that we need tighter border security and to not allow any sojourners into our land, but God tells us over and over we need to welcome the stranger, the sojourner and to treat them as part of the family.
What inheritance will we get? We deserve nothing, for we have not loved as we have been loved. So how can we change and make a difference in the world?
Loving People. Loving God.