And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
by: Dale Rood.
Stephen recounted the history of Abraham and of the patriarchs, noting the covenant sign of circumcision. He was recounting this to make his point about the unfaithfulness of the Jews in rejecting Jesus. Our purpose in remembering may be quite different. Yes, it could be to learn a lesson from history, as in Stephen’s case. More likely, it could be a way of remembering and understanding where we came from. It is important for us to understand our roots and the covenants on which our lives and faith are based. We are building on a great heritage inherited from those who have gone before.