Scripture: “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full—12then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. 14You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you 15(for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.  (Deuteronomy 6:10-15 NKJV)

Observation: God knows the temptation the Israelites would have, going into the land He was giving them, to simply move in and forget He had given it to them.  Moses challenges to keep their heart true to the Giver and not just simply take the gift, and the Giver, for granted.

Application: As an immigrant, I can identify with the Israelites.  I grew up in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, on the northwest corner of South America.  We grew up in a middle class family, all of us six children studied and graduated from high school, a privilege not everyone in the country enjoys even today.  One of my brothers went on to college and to a successful career in radio and television broadcasting and as a journalist and book critic.  Another one of my brothers was a police officer for many years and has been in the Air Force for many more.
     When we left Bogotá to come to the United States, Bogotá’s population was about 2 ½ million people, more than most if not all cities in Mid-America.  Our first home was in Takoma Park, Maryland, at that time the site of the General Conference, and just miles from Washington D.C.  For me, living in that area was almost surreal, like living a dream.  With my mother and younger brother, we would visit the monuments and museums, we would ride the bus whenever it would take us up and down the streets of that beautiful city, and all along we were in awe of its cleanliness and gorgeous architecture.  I remember one Sunday ne notices a crowd gathered in front of a church, so we came close to see what was happening, and there, coming out of the church, was the president of the United States, Gerald Ford.  Unbelievable!  These three newcomers to the US, and here we got to see in person, though briefly and from quite a distance, the president of this great nation.  On another occasion, while I was working at the Capital Hilton Hotel, just three blocks from the White House, I was asked to open and close the curtain for a program presented by the Gridiron Club.  While I did it, up on the stage, barely 3 feet away from me, there stood Mrs. Ford, wife of the president of the United States, and her husband, the president, was just on the other side of the room.  Mrs. Henry Kissinger, and a lot of other politicians and powerful people were also there. . . I LOVE THIS COUNTRY! 🙂
     Little by little we got ourselves situated, got an apartment, bought furniture and clothes, attended college, got married, and continued life like everybody else.  We became part of the people, part of the culture, part of the nation, citizens of this country, contributing to its economy and well being, voting, exercising our rights, enjoying our privileges, respecting its laws.
     Today’s Bible reading reminds me that all we have and all we are is God’s gift to us.  As immigrants, we have been given a great gift, the privilege of coming to this country.  Personally, I’m grateful because here I received my faith, my family, and my education.  Here we have been able to live and succeed, work and rest, travel and see many wonderful things.  And yet I must pause to remember that the homes where we have lived have been built and lived in by others, the jobs I have had were pioneered by others, the education I have has been provided by others.  That’s what God wants us to remember.  To have the heart of an immigrant and be grateful for all we have and are because we have benefitted from the work of those who came before us, and because God has been the One to provide it all for us.  May we never forget His generosity and turn away from Him Who gives us all.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, at this moment we pause to thank You for all You have given us.  Help us to always be thankful for all Your generosity.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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