Small Sojourners, Beloved Belongers

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?  Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.” Deuteronomy 10:12-22

The LORD and Moses had ongoing communion and conversation, and Moses relayed what God said to him in what seems fatherly story-telling and advice. When I listen in, I feel as though I am a child of the king, hearing great tales of excitement and valor and impossible deliverances, and cogent lessons for life. When Moses gives instruction, it is always with holy intention, and always magnifies the Law-Giver. A malevolent, capricious tyrant we would resist, but a benevolent, covenant-keeping, wonder-working Ruler? Any soft and open heart should delight to ingest every word, and trust, and obey.

South African sunset in mountains, reflected in water

The preface to Almighty God’s commands is that He is great, and we are small. He bids us remember He set His affection on us while we wandered, lost and helpless; He rescued us, showered us with mercy and compassion, provided everything in Jesus for our otherwise-impossible spiritual need, and secured us as His own. In fearing and holding fast to this amazing God, we learn to walk in Him, to serve and follow Him, to cut off all that offends, to see with kind eyes those who wander aimlessly as we did, sheep captive to foreign shepherds. When we contemplate this Most High God and His past and present deeds, He becomes our praise, and it shows in the way we live and love. Once alien, now belonging, we begin to reflect His character. (Ephesians 2:1-5)

Most gracious LORD of lords, in love You have delivered my life from the pit and called me Your own. May I never forget who I was, and who I now am. Embolden me willingly and gratefully to keep all You require, to promote Your divine good, to honor and praise Your great name. (Isaiah 38:17)


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