Formations lesson for June 30- The Shema - A Nation-s Call to Devotion
June 14 2002 by Haven Parrott , Deuteronomy 6:1-25

Formations lesson for June 30: The Shema - A Nation's Call to Devotion | Friday, June 14, 2002

Friday, June 14, 2002

Formations lesson for June 30: The Shema - A Nation's Call to Devotion

By Haven Parrott Deuteronomy 6:1-25

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation set the black man free, legally, from the scourge of slavery.

In The Civil War, author Shelby Foote said of that document which, theoretically, became effective January 1, 1863: "The word spread from Capitol Hill out across the city, down into the valleys and fields of Virginia and the Carolinas, and even into the plantations of Georgia and Mississippi and Alabama. 'Slavery Legally Abolished!' read the headlines, and yet something amazing took place. The greater majority of the slaves in the south went right on living as though they were not emancipated. Throughout the period of reconstruction, the Negro remained locked in a caste system of race etiquette as rigid as any have known in formal bondage, and every slave could repeat with equal validity what an Alabama slave had mumbled when asked what he thought of the great emancipator whose proclamation had gone into effect: 'I don't know nothin' 'bout Abraham Lincoln, 'cep they say he sot us free. And I don't know nothin' 'bout that neither.' How tragic! A war was being fought, a document had been signed, slaves were legally set free, and yet most continued to live out their years - and many of their children, some of their years - in fear, saying, 'I don't know nothin' 'bout that neither.' In a context of freedom, slaves chose to remain slaves. Even though emancipated, they kept serving the same master throughout their lives."

Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time in history that freed slaves chose to remain in bondage . . .

They say he sot us free . . .

Three thousand years earlier, the Hebrews lived out a similar tragedy. Through the blood of the Passover lamb, the Great Emancipator provided their deliverance from Pharaoh's oppression. Though the entire fledgling nation left Egypt physically, many among the multitude stayed behind mentally. These were those who grumbled as they gathered manna, whined as they gulped water from the rock, and complained as they contemplated the cloud.

Forty years of contending with those of stiff necks and short memories motivated Moses' message in Moab. His prescription for preserving the gift of freedom, salvation from slavery, was simple and profound: "Love the Lord your God with all of yourself - heart, soul, and mind. Prize no one and no thing above the knowledge of and communion with your Savior. Bind yourself to the One who set you free. And make sure you teach your children daily about the deliverer's deliverance so they can never claim that they "don't know nothin' 'bout that." Discipline yourselves to be devoted to Him, or you'll find yourselves being disciplined by Him."

But the Hebrews forgot to remember, and it wasn't long before they began to look more like the surrounding culture than the sovereign Creator.

Tragically, the nation that had been so gloriously set free eventually found itself in Babylonian bondage. And although their disobedience could not negate their identity as God's covenant people, it surely affected their fellowship with Him, their enjoyment of His blessings, and their ability to accurately advertise Him to the nations.

Don't know nothin' 'bout that . . .

Hundreds of years later, the apostle Paul communicated an obvious observation as he echoed Moses' message with a Messianic twist: "It was for freedom that Christ set you free" (Gal. 5:1). Christians have been set free from sin's power of enslavement in order that we might walk free of it, not wallow around in it.

Enjoyment of that freedom requires from us what it required from the Israelites: that we prize the knowledge of Christ above the desire to cater to the culture. Our disobedience to that precept cannot negate our identity as God's covenant people, but it surely affects our fellowship with Him, our enjoyment of His blessings, and our ability to accurately advertise Him to the nations.

Let us, whose freedom has been purchased by the blood of the Passover Lamb, purpose to never live as if we don't know nothin' 'bout that.

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6/14/2002 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott , Deuteronomy 6:1-25 | with 0 comments
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