Summary: This is a sermon targetted an African American Congregation For Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday
Don’t Miss The Promise Land
Deutoronmy 3:21-29 2 Timothy 2:1-13 1-14-2007
Is there anybody here who was promised a gift for Christmas who once they received the promise fully expected to receive the gift. Now that promise alone caused you to change your behavior. If your parent said, “if you act like this you can forget about getting such and such on Christmas.” So you changed your behavior, just enough to keep the promise alive. Then on Christmas morning, you got what you had been promised, and you said “yes”. The promise had become a reality.
In the bible you will hear people talking about getting into the promised land. Well God gave a promise to a couple by the name of Abraham and Sarah. They were promised that their descendants would receive a beautiful section of a country that would be wonderful for living. The grass would be green, the land would produce a lot of food and crops. There would be plenty of water and areas for their animals to graze and eat food.
The fruits and the grapes that would grow there would be more plentiful than they could ever imagine. They would be in charge of their lives and they would live as free people worshipping God. This promised land was call Canaan. Sometimes you will hear people speak of the land of Canaan. That’s the same thing as the promise land.
There was one catch however, in that God told them, before they received this promise land, they would be slaves in Africa in Egypt for 430 years. After 430 years, God would deliver them out of slavery, and bring them into the promise land. What kept those people going through the midst of their trials and their struggles was the thought of getting into and receiving the promised land.
Everyone one of us lives our lives based on what we view as the promised land. Now some of us are building our lives around some very small promised lands, because we think too short term. For instance, if some of us received $10,000 we would immediately go shopping and start spending and all of it would be gone in less than a day. . Others of us would see that $10,000 as an initial investment into our education or starting a business and will have taken that $10,000 and turned it into a $100,000 or more. It all goes back to what do we see as our promise land.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not simply about a single man. It is about a struggle of Black people for nearly four hundred years of existence in this country. When I was born some 50 years ago, People were murdered because they tried to move into a neighborhood with whites. They were killed because they attempted to integrate schools. Churches were burned and bombed because they encouraged people to vote.
Black men were tied to stakes and burned. Others were lynched. Black women were raped with no arrests of the rapists. Blacks were hired last and fired first. There were very few black faces in any of the major league sports. The only jobs we got in banks, were cleaning the floors after everybody else left. If they got any credit, they were charged the highest interest rates. Blacks were considered inferior to whites and deserved to be second class citizens in their own country. We all lived together, worked together, and went to school together because there were no other options available.
Dr. King came along and gave us a dream of what could be for the races. That speech was given in 1963. But there would still be blood shed, battles fought, places burned down, people sent to jail, and a whole lot of abuse and humiliation before this nation would even consider the dream What motivated us as a people to keep fighting was a belief that there was a promise land involved in all of this.
That promised land was a place that, we as a people would be in charge of our destiny. We would soar in our education levels. We would live where we wanted to live. We would compete wherever we wanted to compete. We would be lifted out of poverty and have a much higher standard of living. We would be second to nobody and stand as an equal among all people, colors and races.
In our Old Testament reading today, we found that Moses wanted to see the Promised Land, because he was going to die before the people entered it. So God allowed Moses to climb up Mt. Pigsah and see the promised land from the top of the mountain. From up on the mountain, he could get the big picture of what God had in mind for His people and it was wonderful.