Acts 7:3
And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
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7:1-16 Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.And said unto him - How long this was said before he went is not recorded. Moses simply says that God had commanded him to go, Genesis 12:1.

Thy kindred - Thy relatives, or family connections. It seems that "Terah" went with him as far as to Haran; but Abraham was apprised that he was to leave his family and to go almost alone.

Into the land ... - The country was yet unknown. The place was to be shown him. This is presented in the New Testament as a strong instance of faith, Hebrews 11:8-9. It was an act of "simple confidence" in God. And to leave his country and home; to go into a land of strangers, not knowing whither he went, required strong confidence in God. It is a simple illustration of what man is always required to do at the command of God. Thus, the gospel requires him to commit all to God; to yield body and soul to his disposal; to be ready at his command to forsake father, and mother, and friends, and houses, and lands, for the sake of the Lord Jesus, Luke 14:33; Matthew 19:27, Matthew 19:29. The trials which Abraham might have anticipated may be readily conceived. He was going, in a rude and barbarous age of the world, into a land of strangers. He was without arms or armies, and almost alone. He did not even know the nature or situation of the land, or the character of its inhabitants.

He had no title to it; no claim to urge; and he went depending on the simple promise of God that he would give it to him. He went, therefore, trusting simply to the promise of God. Thus, his conduct illustrated precisely what we are to do in reference to all our coming life, and to the eternity before us: We are to trust simply to the promise of God, and do what he requires. This is faith. In Abraham it was as simple and intelligible an operation of mind as ever occurs in any instance. Nor is faith in the Scriptures regarded as more mysterious than any other mental operation. If Abraham had seen all that was to result from his going into that land, it would have been a sufficient reason to induce him to do as he did. But God saw it; and Abraham was required to act just as if he had seen it all, and all the reasons why he was called. Upon the strength of God's promises, Abraham was called to act. This was faith. It did not require him to act where there was "no reason" for his so acting, but where he did not see the reason. So in all cases of faith. If man could see all that God sees, he would perceive reasons for acting as God requires. But the reasons of things are often concealed, and man is required to act on the belief that God sees reasons why he should so act. To act under the proper impression of that truth which God presents is faith; as simple and intelligible as any other act or operation of the mind. See the notes on Mark 16:16.

2-5. The God of glory—A magnificent appellation, fitted at the very outset to rivet the devout attention of his audience; denoting not that visible glory which attended many of the divine manifestations, but the glory of those manifestations themselves, of which this was regarded by every Jew as the fundamental one. It is the glory of absolutely free grace.

appeared unto our father Abraham before he dwelt in Charran, and said, &c.—Though this first call is not expressly recorded in Genesis, it is clearly implied in Ge 15:7 and Ne 9:7; and the Jewish writers speak the same language.

This command given unto Abraham we read of, Genesis 12:1,5,6; and it is here the rather spoken of by St. Stephen, to prove that Abraham was in the favour of God, and did truly serve him, before he ever saw the land of Canaan, and before the ceremonial law was given by Moses, and, much more, before the temple was built; and therefore it could not be blasphemy in him to hold that God might be served without those ceremonies, and worshipped elsewhere than in Jerusalem.

The land which I shall show thee; this was the glory of Abraham’s faith, that it submitted absolutely to God, and enabled Abraham to go he knew not whither, Hebrews 11:8, for God did not so much as name the place he would have him go unto.

And said unto him,.... Not the words in Genesis 12:1 for they were said in Haran, these in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt there, and besides, these are different from them; no mention is here made of getting out from his father's house, as there; because his father's house sent along with him, or rather he with them from Mesopotamia to Haran:

get thee out of thy country; from Ur of the Chaldees, where he was born:

and from thy kindred; his relations that lived in the same place, who did not go along with him:

and come into the land which I shall show thee; not telling him the place whither he was to go; wherefore when he had his first call, and first set out, he knew not whither he went; see Hebrews 11:8. This was an emblem of the calling of the saints out of the world, from their former course of life, and from among their old companions and friends, to follow Christ whithersoever he is pleased to lead them; and who at last will bring them safe to the land afar off, the better and heavenly country.

And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
3. and said unto him] It does not appear from the narrative in Genesis whether there had been some Divine communication which caused the first removal from Ur to Haran. We are only told (Genesis 11:31) that Terah took his family and removed, but as it is there added “to go into the land of Canaan,” and as in the following chapter, where God’s order to remove is expressly given (Genesis 12:1), it is also said that “they went forth to go into the land of Canaan,” we may conclude that the first removal had been enjoined by God, and that it was only on account of Terah’s age that the country for which they set forth was not reached at once. In Genesis 15:7 God says “I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees,” language which implies a command given for the first removal. Cp. Nehemiah 9:7. Genesis 12:1 should be rendered “Now the Lord said unto Abram,” not “had said,” as A. V.

Get thee out of thy country [land], and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee] The word for land is the same in both clauses. In Genesis 12:1 the words “and from thy father’s house” are added after “kindred.” The destination of the emigrants was known before they started from Ur.

Acts 7:3. Ἔξελθεδείξω) So Genesis 12:1, LXX., except that they (the LXX.) introduce καὶ ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ πατρός σου.—γῆς, from thy country) This brought with it (caused) his departure from Chaldea.—συγγενείας, from thy kindred) This caused subsequently his departure from Haran or Charran, to which the family of Abraham had come, Acts 7:4. The more adult part of the family remained in Mesopotamia, the younger portion in Haran; for it is not to be supposed that Terah remained altogether alone there. They who also followed Abraham out of Haran, followed him of their own accord. Abraham was not ordered to bring them with him: and if they had not followed, he still would have gone forth out of Haran: comp. Genesis 11:31; Genesis 24:4 (where Abraham directs his servant to go to his country (Mesopotamia) and his kindred, implying that the adults of the family had remained in Mesopotamia).—ἣν ἂν, whichsoever) Abraham did not know which would be the land: Hebrews 11:8.

Verse 3. - Thy land for thy country, A.V. Acts 7:3
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