From Security to Generosity — Murl Baker Lenten devotional for March 13, 2022

Read Deuteronomy 26:1-11:

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

Read Psalm 91:11-16:

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.

With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.

Prayer: Jesus, we are tempted to shore up our own security instead of trusting in you and in the strength of your community. Open us up to generosity and trust. Amen.

The reading from Deuteronomy calls on the people of Israel to remember their passage out of Egypt into their new homeland and instructs them to give a portion of their crops to the needy in the community, rejoicing in God’s providence. The psalmist praises his God as a place of safety and protection. God offers us a refuge against the perils of life. Can we trust these promises?

What does it mean to make God our refuge? What things give you a feeling of security? If you are like me, security means a well-stocked pantry, money in the bank, friendship. Am I willing to share? Are you willing to share?