Reciting Your Family Story

I just finished read through the Torah, and at the end of Deuteronomy, I got to a chapter, and Jeff, I’m curious. I’d never seen this. It’s one of those things, that different things jump out at you every time you read through the scripture. And man, I have not been able to get this out of my head. So, this is a festival, this is in Deuteronomy 26 at the festival of first fruits. God gave everyone in Israel, all the fathers who were coming before the Lord to give their first fruits as speech, like a memorized speech that they were supposed to tell, that they were supposed to recite as they handed over that offering. And I’ve just been reading this speech over and over again, and just thinking about what God was trying to form.

I’ll just read the first couple of lines of this speech. So imagine, a father, you’re traveling all the way to Jerusalem, you got your first fruits offering. You come to the priest and you give them and as you’re handing it over, you have to say these words. And he says, and this is Deuteronomy 24 verse five, “And you shall make a response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation great, mighty and populous. And the Egyptian treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and great deeds of terror with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing of milk and honey…'” And it goes on from there. Okay.

That’s good.

I love this speech so much. This is the family story of redemption and that every father had to have it memorized and every year he had to recite it. And the first line, “A wandering Aramean was my father.” For some reason, every time I read that it cracks me up because he’s looking back at Abraham who had no house. Who had nothing before the Lord literally plucked him out of this idol-worshiping family. And so, can you imagine how this roots this father’s heart and his multi-generational family? Where his father came from, how much the Lord was responsible for every single thing, good, that happened to this family and for them to experience it and for every father to recite this before the Lord? What an incredible rhythm. I know, I I get excited thinking about it. I’m going to design and write something like this for first fruits this Spring, coming up because we’ve never really figured out how to celebrate that holiday. But yeah, Jeff, what does that strike for you?

I love it. And the exact same reasons. I was just going to say, yeah, it’d be interesting if a family almost kind of comes up with their own, that’s like a chant or a slogan or a thing that they recite either once a week or once a year, or a family summit type context. I think it’s a really powerful thing to kind of just remind and renew and kind of focus the story. And I think that’s really, really powerful and I loved that there was actually a command of memorization. That’s incredible.

Yeah. So yeah, I think I said Deuteronomy 24, it’s actually Deuteronomy 26, but yeah. You guys, it’s only about maybe seven or eight verses long and yeah… Think about what it would look like to write your family story. Who was the first person who believed in the gospel in your family? Was it you, was it your father, was it 10 generations ago? And begin to piece that story together and begin to tell it in this very condensed form about what the Lord has done for your family. And man, I just think that will route your family in the story, really connect the story of God with the story of your family, weave them together and give your children like a deep root structure, a sense of identity and who they are in God’s kingdom and as a family. So yeah. Check this out, Deuteronomy 26, such an incredible annual rhythm.

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