Summary: It is a tradition to celebbrate Thanksgiving Sundays and Harvest Festivals in our Churches. The Lord had given detailed instructions to Moses about these rituals or Liturgy. However, what do all these rituals mean to us? Do they have any significance in t
Another Thanksgiving Sunday?
There are some books of the Old testament that are rarely read. Deuteronomy is not too bad. Many of us would have browsed through the book of Deuteronomy some time or the other. However, I am not sure how much each of us will score if we do a Bible Quiz on Deuteronomy. The Book of Deuteronomy can broadly be split into four parts. Moses, the author of most part of this book, starts by reminding Israelites about what god has done for them, in the first four chapters, and then, goes on to give detailed instructions for godly living in the next many chapters. Then he gives another passionate call for commitment to God. The last part of the book, believed to be written by Joshua, after Moses’ death describes Moses’ last days and the change in leadership.
Chapter 26 stands out in a way that is marks the end of purely legal matters discussed in the earlier chapters and switches to detailed instructions on performance of two rituals, or liturgy, viz; the presentation of first fruits and the presentation of the tithe of the third year. I would like to focus this morning, not so much on the liturgy itself, but on the purpose behind it and it’s implications to us in the current scenario. When I look at all the persecution that is going on, my belief that the end times are near is getting stronger, and I get a feeling that I am closer than ever before, to the promised land that the new covenant offers in Revelation 21:16-27. So this morning, even as we remember the rituals that the Israelites were asked to perform once they enter the promised land, I would like us to pause and think about what we need to do, to enter our promised land, that land described in Rev 21:16-27.
Though there are many themes and lessons to be drawn from this chapter in Deuteronomy, I would like to draw our attention to just three things this morning.
1. The confession of faith (Vs. 5-10)
2. Reminder of the declaration (by the people) that Israel would accept the terms of the covenant that God offered them (Vs 17)
3. Reminder of the declaration (By God) that God had given Israel a special status, as His people, His treasured possession. (Vs 18 - 19)
The confession of faith given here is a simple one. We acknowledge who we were, we were in bondage, we cried out to the Lord, the Lord heard our cry, and the Lord delivered us from bondage, and the Lord has given us this promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. All of you would have heard that beautiful hymn, Amazing Grace, which describes our status before and after salvation.
Let us talk about faith. There is a story told by Narayanamurthy, the founder of Infosys. A group of IT company CEOs were invited by an airplane manufacturer for a special flight. They were welcomed well and were requested to be seated inside the aircraft. When all of them were in and strapped up, an announcement was made that this flight is a experimental flight without pilots, using the latest software. They were trying out the new unmanned flight concept. Secretly and individually each CEO was also told that the software used in the aircraft was developed by his own company. Slowly, one by one, the CEOs started to make excuses, and soon, there was only one CEO left in the aircraft and he seemed undisturbed. So the organizers of this test came and congratulated him on his faith on the software product of his company and his software engineers. The man smiled and told them. “Yes, I have absolute faith in my software engineers. If my engineers designed the program, I am sure the flight would not even take off.”
If I ask you this morning, what is Jesus to you, what would be your response? Saviour, friend? King? Do you know what is the most commonly used title in the Bible, to describe Jesus? It is “the Lord”. I want us to pause for a moment and understand the real meaning of the word Lord. Lord is some one who owns everything, Lord is some one, whom we obey always, Lord is some one who we do not question, Lord is some one who we pay respect. The dictionary meaning of “Lord” is that of a man who has immense power and authority. I want us to keep this in mind and open our bibles to Romans 10:9. Just as the confession of faith given in our reading of Deuteronomy is simple, Paul gives a simpler route to salvation here. Just confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in His resurrection. This Thanks giving Sunday, I want us to once again ask, can I sincerely confess that Jesus is Lord of my life? Have I given him control over all aspects of my life? Have I allowed him to enter into my all the rooms in my heart? Can I really say that he is the Lord?