"But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.Acts 7:5(NASB)
Following Israel's rejection of their Messiah and the birth of the Christian Church at Pentecost, God's chosen nation fell into two camps: those that accepted Christ as their Saviour and those that rejected His offer of salvation.
Tensions between the two groups increased so significantly that the religious, Jewish leaders who rejected their Messiah, took steps to suppress the testimony of God's grace by exterminating everyone who professed faith in Jesus of Nazareth - the King of the Jews.
Their attempt to silence them through various threats and the imprisonment of the apostles failed, for God answered their prayers and sent His angel to open the prison gates for Peter. The Jewish Sanhedrin became desperate to halt the spread of the gospel of grace - that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, according to their Jewish Scriptures - to save His people from their sins, by faith in Him.
It was for this reason that Stephen, a man filled with the Holy Ghost, was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to testify of the truth of the gospel. He was accused of speaking against the Temple. And so it was that starting from Abraham... Stephen began his defence.
He gave a long speech, which included all the salient points in Israel's history. He started with Abraham's biography and pointed out that "The Lord God didn't give Abraham an inheritance in the land of Canaan - not even a foot of ground, but He promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless."
Stephen was explaining that even though God's promises may be delayed for a season, as in the case of Abraham, His promises are altogether sure. He was showing that although God's promises may not happen in the way we would like and although His timing may be different from our expectation, His Word is true. Indeed, His promise to Abraham was being fulfilled in Christ Whom they had crucified - and He had come to set up the kingdom of God on earth as their promised Messiah-King.
God had promised Abraham a special inheritance in the land of Canaan which would be possessed by his descendants after Him... and although he did not see this come to pass in his own life-time, Abraham believed God. The fulfilment of this promise was through Jesus Who was the promised Seed of Abraham about Whom the Scriptures spoke. Jesus was the One through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Although Abraham's inheritance, about which Stephen spoke, is still yet future, it is secured for his descendants in Christ, for God's promises cannot fail. Although the Promised Land which God pledged to Abraham's descendants as a permanent possession is not yet realised - a believing remnant of Jews will, one day, be settled securely in their land forever - following the terrible future time of 'Jacob's trouble'.
As members of the Church in this dispensation of grace, we can rejoice that nothing will prevent God's plans, purposes, and promises from being fulfilled - for both the people of Israel and for the Christian Church.
Both Abraham and Stephen demonstrated an unshakable faith in our Almighty God, for they knew that nothing in the heavens above, the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth, is able to thwart God's perfect plan of redemption for both the people Israel that the Christian Church. May we exhibit the same steadfast trust in our God and Saviour - whose Word is true and Whose truth is fulfilled in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the lives of Abraham and Stephen, both of whom demonstrated an unshakable trust in Your Word and an exemplary faith, that Your plans and purposes are altogether sure. Thank You that Your promises are all 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ Jesus, my Lord. Give me an unshakable faith in Your Word, knowing that You are the only sure Rock upon which my faith is secure. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.