Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the first fruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. – Deuteronomy 26:5-10
God has given us much more than we can ever give back. We can never repay Him for the abundance of gifts that He has given to us; our family, our money, our talents, our health, the homes that we cherish, and the smile that we have on our face. He has given us so much.
Our God is gracious, patient, forgiving, generous and He is love. In all that God does for us, many do not take the time to say thank you.
The selected text above tells us about the Israelites whose foreparents were wandering Arameans. They were constantly moving from one place to another, then at the invitation of his son Joseph, Jacob relocated his whole family to Egypt.
In Egypt, Jacob’s family prospered and became a great nation. However, as they multiplied, the Egyptians became afraid and enslaved them. The burden of the slave masters was so overbearing, the children of Jacob cried out to the Lord God. They needed hope.
Often, we only cry out to God when we are desperate. God becomes the only ray of hope. Yet, notwithstanding our neglect, God, who is gracious and merciful, is always available. He is always near to us. God is always ready and able to give help to us.
Even though the Israelites had ignored and forgotten the God of their forefathers, He did not ignore or forget them. God sent help and deliverance for His people who were desperate.
He brought them safely out of Egypt, away from their oppressors, to a land of abundance.
But they doubted God and refused to enter the land which the Lord had promised to their foreparents.
In refusing to take possession of the land, they showed contempt for God. Even though they had witnessed the power of God, through His servant Moses, firsthand, they quickly forgot.
They, instead, were guided by Satan, who convinced them that the land was not safe and that their God was not able to deliver them as he had done during their wilderness journey from Egypt. For their disobedience, they were made to spend 40 years wandering in the desert.
As we make our Lenten sojourn to Easter, during these 40 days of Lent, let us be reminded of the children of Israel’s 40 years of wilderness journey. Let us remember Jesus’ 40 days wilderness experience.
God did rescue the children of Israel, and protected Jesus in the wilderness. He will also guide and protect us. God gives us His promise. In addition to His promise, He gave us many more gifts to serve Him.
In Moses’ last instructions to the people, he reminded them that Yahweh had been so wonderful to them. In response, they should pledge loyalty to God. Yahweh has been good to us here in The Bahamas. We, too, should give to Him the first fruits of our labor.
Therefore, we can serve God by telling and helping others to find their way to the cross. For all that God has given and done for us, we can share our wealth and our time to build His kingdom here on Earth. Amen.
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.