2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’
Verses 2-8 show how God worked through His promise to Abraham.
And he [Stephen] said, “Brethren and fathers, listen:
Stephen addressed the Sanhedrin with terms of respect, “brethren and fathers.”
The God of glory
The appellation of God as “the God of glory” refers to God as a God of divine manifestation. His promises have the glory of His grace freely given. By referring to God in this manner, Stephen defended himself against the charge that He blasphemed God. This defender viewed God from the sum total of His attributes.
appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia,
Beginning with a theological history of Israel, Stephen began his defense of how God revealed Himself to the first Jew, Abraham. Stephen’s emphasis here was that God sovereignly controlled Abraham’s movements.
before he dwelt in Haran,
The timing of God dealing with Abraham began long before the Jewish father arrived in Palestine or Haran, a northern Mesopotamian city. Haran was the family home of Abraham. It was east of Carchemish. This city was located at the crossroads of trade routes. Genesis 11:31-12:1 indicate Abraham reached Haran before God spoke to him, but Genesis 11 may serve as a general background statement. The resolution to this apparent discrepancy of God’s call to Abraham between the time he lived in Ur and Haran is that he received two calls from God: (1) one in Ur (Ge 15:7; Neh 9:7) and (2) the other in Haran. Both Philo and Josephus interpreted it this way. The implication of Genesis 15:7 substantiates Stephen’s assertion that God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans.
and [God] said to him [Abraham], ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives,
Abraham’s country was Ur of the Chaldeans, a city about 500 miles southeast of Haran. He settled in Haran until his father died.
and come to a land [Palestine or Israel] that I will show you.’
God asked Abraham to go to a location that He had not revealed as yet. Stephen’s argument was to show that the Jews of his generation received a promised covenant from God but that they violated it.
God is a God of progressive revelation and doctrine.
Christians today need to remember the promises God gave us. It is easy to become so involved with the things of our lives that we neglect eternal values, especially God’s promises to us. As God warned Israel to remain faithful to Him, Christians should heed the same kind of warning.