Sunday, February 27, 2011

Remember

Around the end of last year, several of my friends decided to read through the Bible in a year and were issuing challenges for others to do the same.

No one issued a triple-dog-dare or anything, but still...the challenge hung out there in space over my head for a few days.

And then I decided not to do it because I didn't have one of those Bibles that broke everything down into a one-year calendar.

Excuse accomplished.

And then God ganged up on me.
{He's ninja like that.}

I was looking for a book on our bookshelf one day and suddenly noticed that I DID, in fact, have a one year Bible. I inherited it from my Grandpa when he died. I had forgotten I had it.

Excuse removed.

I figured there was no use in whipping up another excuse since God obviously wanted me to read through the Bible this year.

And wow...I am learning so much. I was dreading Leviticus and most of Deuteronomy.
{Most especially Leviticus.}

But I've read past it now and I am actually amazed by how relevant it all was when read in it's entirety. It totally made sense and it wasn't boring.

I'm in Deuteronomy now and I have been amazed at something I keep seeing. Seeing as in OVER. AND. OVER. AND. OVER.

You know how it is when you want your kids to really get something you said? You say it to them several times. You might even ask them to repeat it back to you.

Yeah. You know what I'm talking about.
That's what God does to His children in Deuteronomy. It's obviously very important to Him. Do you want to know what it is? I hope so because what He said to them applies to us.
You and me.
Every day.
In some way.

He tells them/us over and over...take care of orphans, widows and immigrants. Sometimes He adds, 'the poor.' And then He adds, 'because you were once immigrants in Egypt.' Or sometimes He says, "you were slaves in Egypt."

In Deut. 24:17, 18 He says, "True justice must be given to immigrants living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow's garment in pledge of her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I have given you this command."

There are some things orphans, widows, immigrants and the poor have in common.
1. If you do something for them, they probably won't ever be able to pay you back.
2. They often need an advocate for one reason or another.
3. The are often treated as people with little or no value.
4. Sometimes they are uncomfortably different than we are. We don't really want to 'visit them in their distress.' {James 1:27} Throwing a check their way is far less bothersome. Actually spending time with them...well, that's a different story.

God gives specific instructions about how to make sure each Israelite family feeds and cares for orphans, widows and immigrants. He didn't say, "Some of you should leave some of your crops for the orphans, widows and immigrants to harvest." Nope, it applied to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.

And after each set of instructions, He would say again, 'Remember, you were slaves in Egypt..."

Perhaps we would be more willing to help others, especially those who can never repay us, if we would REMEMBER.... Remember that He redeemed us from a life of sin and misery. Remember that we were needy and had no hope. Remember that we once cried out for someone to rescue and deliver us. We had no hope of being able to save ourselves. It was beyond our ability to change ANYTHING about our situation. God was our only hope of salvation. And He was totally willing to give everything He had to redeem us.

And when He asks us to help others who cannot ever repay us, what do we say?
"Oh...I went on a mission trip once."
"I sponsor a child."
"Well, they should be doing more to help themselves. I have it rough, too."

Sometimes, I think we get our checkbooks out and give a small donation so that we can check the good deed off our list and feel better about ourselves. There is certainly nothing wrong with sponsoring a child or giving a donation to a worthy cause. But if we are doing it INSTEAD of what God has really called us to...well...is God pleased with that?
{Read Isaiah 58 to see what He thinks.}

What would the world look like if all of us who call ourselves Christians, follow Christ's example and give Him our lives with reckless abandon? To do with as He wants. To use in amazing and exciting ways.

Satan tells us that if we lose control of what we want to do, we will never have any fun again.

Christ tells us that if we 'lose' our lives for Him, we will gain our truly purposeful lives and experience true JOY.

Who will we believe and what are we going to do about it?

{Don't take my word for it! Read Deuteronomy yourself and see what you think!}

8 comments:

Theanne and Baron said...

Great post...what a challenge...and one I've wanted to accomplish my whole life long! Since a journey begins with the first step...time to pick up the Bible and read!

Kathleen said...

I think God had us on the same "thought wave" this weekend. I have been asking myself, "what can I do for children living in poverty that is on going"?

Serving is not a one time thing that you can "be done with" and then mark off your good deeds check list. We need to keep seeking ways to help the fatherless and children living in poverty. I am praying about this right now...

Thanks for the reading tip!!

trustandobey said...

Love this post, Karen! I have a very good friend that went to seminary and so I ask him the hard adoption questions sometimes.He told me,once, that during Biblical times, it was never a question as to WHO would help feed the orphans of the country, etc. It was well known and expected that those who belonged to God were expected to help out. Having a conversation about who felt "called" to take on the plight of the unwanted and care for them would have been unheard of!
My, how things have changed...
Lisa

sara said...

great post Karin!

Jean said...

Ten children and you are reading through the bible- wow!! That is awesome.

I need to do that!

Love this post!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Beautiful, Karin. I love how you paralleled Deuteronomy to parents repeating the same thing to their children. I've never heard that analogy before, but oh, how apt it is. I'm reading through the Bible this year, too. I've done it once before, but I was due for a repeat. And - I know I'm crazy - but for some strange reason Leviticus is my favorite book of the Old Testament.

Ruby Mae said...

I read through the Bible last year and had done it one other time before. It was a challenge well worth the time as you've already shared. I found it much easier and enjoyable to read it from a Bible written in chonological order. This year, I've started reading in the NT and make a note of every verse that has BUT in it and what follows the BUT.....thinking it would make several good sermons for some preacher. Often the Bible says BUT GOD........ I love those. The verse that struck me today was 2nd Timothy 4:17....But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength!!!!

Adeye said...

Oh my.....what a brilliant post!!!!! I try to make reading His Word a priority in my life. But, sadly, sometimes I get so caught up in the other stuff. The stuff that really doesn't matter.

Thank you for the wonderful reminder!