“...there arose another king... who knew nothing about Joseph.” Acts 7:18
The present is always pointing back to the past. In the life of a family or the life of a nation the past impacts the present, just as the recent ultimately impacts the future. Here in this portion of Stephen’s sermon, he reaches back to Exodus, which reaches back to Genesis. He references an unnamed king and Joseph.
Joseph’s descent into Egypt is at the foundation of the Exodus story. It’s the substratum of the deliverance of a nation. Joseph ended up in Egypt because of the envy and jealousy of his brothers. Yet, out of the wrong done to him, good had come. This is the lesson of Joseph. To those who trust God, He fights for them, He turns the wicked choices of others into praise.
But there arose a new king with no foundation, no ties to the past. This king felt free to adopt whatever set of rules best suited him at the moment. He had no personal knowledge of Joseph, and was completely ignorant of history. Within 65 years of Joseph’s death, the impact of his life on Egypt was forgotten.
Had Joseph been a tyrant, a conqueror, a bully, and an egotist who crushed down the Egyptians and raised up a massive monument in honor of himself, both his name and acts would have been remembered by this new king. But Joseph was surrendered to the selfless service of God’s success for a nation.
The world doesn’t recognize true character, sacrificial choices. The world doesn’t remember those who have become less so that God might increase. But God does.
He remembers every decision made that honors Him. He remembers the life that grasped God’s promise of a future and hope. A life that believed for more than it saw.
When the culture shifts to seek after the next big thing, it’s important we detach ourselves from the opinions and approval of others and hold on to two anchors – Christ and the faith of Christ, which never cease to exist and can never fail.
What do the pursuits of your life reveal about who or what you are living?