February 04, 2009

Out-and-in Grace

Deuteronomy 6:13-23

“He brought us out from there to bring us in …”
Deuteronomy 6:23


The usual order is “in and out,” as in southern California’s In-and-Out drive-through restaurant chain. But Moses told parents to tell their children: “He brought us out from there to bring us in …”

“Out from there” was Egypt; “in” was the promised land of Canaan. “In” were cities they did not build, good things they did not make, wells they did not dig, vineyards they did not plant. They had built cities and dug wells and made other good things, but they had done that for the Egyptians, their taskmasters. Now they would not labor for others but receive for themselves.

What a turnabout—from their own poverty to God’s plenty. From Egypt’s greed to God’s grace. But with that turnabout came a stern warning: “Do not forget the Lord, who brought you out …”

How quickly we forget the Lord, the giver of all the blessings we enjoy. Another fast-food place has had the slogan “You deserve a break today.” The Israelites “got a break” when God gave them their new, fully furnished home. But it wasn’t because they deserved it. It was because God is who he is—gracious, merciful, fatherly, caring, compassionate, generous.

It’s no different for us today. Same poverty, same need, same bondage. Same God, same undeserved blessing, same warning, same out-and-in grace.

God of all grace, may we never forget that you are the One who has brought us out so that you can bring us into your presence. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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