I said no!
It’s always sad to me, when I think of Moses having to send his people into the promised land without him. He begged God to let him continue on the journey. But, God basically told him, “No! Now stop asking me.” My first thought was, “Aww, poor Moses.”
No means no
I used to tell my teenagers that my favorite word was, "No." It was just easier that way because somebody was always asking for something. And I couldn't be seen as a pushover. But, for some reason, it’s difficult to witness the Lord’s stern parenting skills. In a weak moment, I might have given into Moses’ plea. After all, he sacrificed so much in order to heed the Lord’s call.
Moses was living quite the charmed life as an Egyptian prince when he fled after killing an Egyptian to defend a Hebrew. In an instant, he became a fugitive running for his life through what must have been a scorching desert. Just when he found some stability with his Cushite wife and son, God called him out of his comfort zone again. Why? To return to the land where he was known as a murderer, so that he could convince its new king to give up his entire slave labor work force.
If that wasn’t enough, then he had to manage that group of grumblers all throughout the wilderness. He spent 40 years dealing with their ungrateful acts, hearing their constant complaints, and making sure they followed all of God’s very specific instructions. Moses had such enormous responsibility. It’s no wonder that he lost his temper in one fleeting moment. There was no turning back from the time he hit the rock to extract drinking water for the people, instead of just speaking to it, as he was commanded.
So, because he could not enter the land with them, Moses armed the Israelites with a recap of all that had transpired up to that point. Their fathers had perished in the wilderness, so it was crucial for Moses to send them on their way with a care package full of their heritage. That package included tragedies, triumphs, and lessons learned so that they could pass them on to future generations. The oral tradition was an important part of many ancient cultures, for without it, entire events would be wiped from the collective memory.
Who am I?
It’s always important to let young people know their history. Without our history, we have no identity. We’ve seen the results of that due to the African slave trade. Millions of people now live all over the world without the slightest clue about where their ancestors lived or died. The Israelites knew what tribes they came from, and had genealogical records going all the way back to Abraham to prove it.
But, the descendants of enslaved Africans do not. We know the larger story of how our people survived a torturous trip across the ocean packed in the bottom of ships like sardines. But, we lack the personal accounts that would connect us to individual people, places, and tribes in our homeland. We primarily know ourselves as downtrodden and oppressed people. Why? Because the stories of our kings, queens, and warriors were stripped away from us along with our identities.
We all arrive at adulthood with a void somewhere in our souls, for one reason or another. The descendants of enslaved Africans have an even bigger void, due to the gaping hole in our identity. But, I believe that a relationship with God fills all voids. Why do I believe that? Because He has filled all of mine, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
How connected are you to your heritage and culture? Feel free to comment below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
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