You are invited to our next worship gathering is Sunday, January 28 in the St. Johns Room at FCC (3450 CR210, 32259.) Our annual retreat is February 16-18. Let us know if you’d like to come along.)
Moses was a preacher with an especially important message. He had something to say. He wanted to make sure his people knew who God was, who they were, and what that meant.
After generations of slavery and forty years in the wilderness, his people (God’s people) were about to go into the Promised Land. A new leader and a military campaign were before them. More significantly, freedom was in front of them. How would they handle it? Would they have the courage to move forward? Or would they continue the foolishly pining away for the presumed safety and security of slavery in Egypt at the first sign of difficulty? But really, Egypt was no longer an option. They were moving into the Promised Land. Would they live into the new quality of life God was offering them? Or would they try to find an easier way, something more secure?
A similar choice is before us each day.
Inviting them to make the better choice, Moses says (and I’m paraphrasing.) “Remember who God is. Remember who you are. Live your lives in response to that reality.” They were in a covenant relationship with the God of all creation and that covenant carried a sacred responsibility. They were God’s Chosen People. They were brought into the covenant of Abraham. The relationship was a blessing, and it carried a beautiful responsibility. They were blessed to be a blessing to others. Indeed, they were uniquely positioned to bless the whole world. Notice the rich language as Moses praises God for who God is, and reflects on what God has done! (Those are great skills for prayer, by the way.)
Notice how Moses is strategic and specific about who to bless: the widows, the orphans, and the foreigners in the land. As a nation, they were to be intentional in showing care and kindness to the most vulnerable of their day. In the ancient world, those groups easy to ignore, easy to mistreat. And God’s the love of God’s heard flowed toward the vulnerable. And it still does.
It is cool to me whenever I meet people who have a heart for those who, in our day, might be easy to ignore or mistreat. I know people who feed the hungry, serve the homeless, spend time with refugees locally and abroad, care for teen moms and their babies, foster kids, support orphanages, and care for the elderly. In spending time with them, I have noticed they have a sense of purpose, vitality, and joy! I believe there’s a reason for that. Whenever we intentionally place ourselves with the weak or vulnerable, we are aligning our hearts with God’s own heart – and that aligns us with part of God’s great purpose for our lives: to learn to love the way God loves.
The Children of Israel had a mixed record going forward. They found themselves oppressed and enslaved over and over again. The prophets would often point out injustice against the vulnerable and remind the people, especially those in power that they had forgotten who God was, who they were, and who they were to bless. That reminder is always needed, you know. I need it regularly, for sure. Too much is at stake should we forget. Perhaps like me, you are also tempted to settle for something easier, more certain. So I encourage you to accept this word. Remember this: by the working of the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus Christ, you are brought into a covenant relationship with the God. You call God, “Father.” The Father has given you a place at his table, adopted you into his family, and he calls you his precious child. He is a good Father. And he does not spoil us, his children. Rather he gives you and me a responsibility fitting for family members. You and I are to live into this new reality, reflecting the heart of God to love and bless others, especially those to whom God’s own heart is drawn.
May you remember who God is and who you are. May you live your life faithfully in response. May you find courage to make the better choice when tempted to settle and find much joy in this journey!
(Adapted from a devotional I prepared for Mandarin Presbyterian Church – Jesse)