What is it about a declaration – speaking something out loud – that makes it so binding? This chapter shows us four declarations that the Israelites were required to make upon entering the Promised Land and then later when carrying on the traditions. Each declaration is written out here, and I suppose these are the very words the Israelites adopted when presenting their offerings. (Probably not in the exact words of the NLT English version, though.) So, what if the Israelites would have just dropped off their gifts and not said anything – or even just said a little silent prayer and went on their way? Maybe this ritual wouldn’t have had as much meaning. However, I think maybe repetitiveness may have contributed to these declarations not being used today. You know what I mean? Have you ever said the Lord’s Prayer before bedtime? How about “God is great. God is good, and we thank him for this food?” My cousins were Catholic, and before meals one of them would say, “Bless us, oh, Lord, for these your gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Prayers like this sometimes become so routine we often skip over their meanings, and I’m wondering if rituals like the ones in today’s chapters just lost their meanings for future generations of Israelites after a while as well. I remember in church youth group once we broke down every line of the Lord’s Prayer and looked at their individual meanings. We looked up phrases we’d been saying all our lives but had never really understood what they meant. I imagine many from the older generation of Israelites tried to keep the stories alive so that they were not only passed down to future generations but also FELT by future generations. That’s hard to do. I also think that’s why God keeps shaking things up. It’s sometimes the only way to make us remember how much He has done for us.
Writing prompt: I do declare
Pick a Bible verse that you know by heart and pick it apart today. Declare your appreciation for God in writing and out loud. Speak love, life, hope and remembrance today.