January 26, 2008


Deuteronomy 26:1-11

"My father was a wandering Aramean ..."
Deuteronomy 26:5


How would you honor someone who saved you from your addiction, helped you turn your life around, and then placed you in a brand-new home equipped with first-class appliances and a year's supply of gourmet food? Could you ever really repay such a person?

Moses tells Israel that the rich soil of the land is not what it's all about. The people should remember what God has done to bring them to the land, beginning with Abraham. It's not about giving God what he is owed, or paying some kind of rent, or helping needy people from your abundance. It's about confessing your faith in God.

In ancient Israel, you'd take the firstfruits of your grapes, wheat, or pomegranates to the priest at the place of worship. You'd leave your farm and spend the time and energy to travel to God's house, where you would recite: "My father was a wandering Aramean ..."

Do you hear it? "My father was homeless; my ancestors were landless. I, too, would be homeless if not for all God has done to bring me here." The gift of firstfruits without this confession would be inadequate. And the confession without the gift would be incomplete.

Tomorrow many people will go to worship and be invited to confess, "I was homeless." It will also be a good time to bring an offering to honor the One who has turned your life around.

Thank you Lord, that you've turned my life around and given me a home. May my life show eternal gratitude to you, through Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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