Class 49: “Learn About Where You Come From” (Part 1)
Today, we are beginning a new study titled, “Learn About Where You Come From”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Colin L. Powell. He said, “Our Black heritage must be a foundation stone we can build on, not a place to withdraw to.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
I trust that you are doing well today.
This is just a short letter to encourage you to learn more about your heritage and where you came from. This is more important than you may think. It is crucial to your self-esteem, confidence and vision for the future. You see, having knowledge of your history will help make you a wiser person today, and give you a better idea as to where to go in the future. As they say, a person who does not know where he came from does not know where he is going.
Now, this important knowledge is gained in two basic ways: One way is by word of mouth: i.e., through the words of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. And, of course, the second way is through reading and studying good black history books.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
The Israelites were the people to whom God first chose to reveal Himself. He loved them and made a covenant with them which said, that the Israelites would be God’s people and He would be their God. He would never leave nor forsake these chosen ones as long as they did not forsake Him. This personal identity with the one and only true God set Israel apart thousands of years ago and continues in the lives of Christians, for the blood of Jesus made all believers God’s chosen children. Thus, let us look at how the issue of heritage affected the Israelites back in Old Testament times and then decipher what that means for the Christian believer today.
In the book of Exodus, we find the Israelites living in bondage among the Egyptians. God hears their laments and pleas for liberation, and thus, raises up His servant Moses to speak to pharaoh, Egypt’s ruler, who eventually, with significant influence from God Himself, allows the Israelites to freely leave his country.
Exodus 12 picks up on the night the Israelites were finally going to be freed from their oppressors. Verses 24-27 read as follows: “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.”
The Passover commemorates the night the Lord spared His chosen people who marked their doorways with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. The homes that were not adorned with this blood lost their first born child in the most gruesome plague of all. This event led to Pharaoh finally letting the Israelite people leave their chains behind and head for the Promised Land.
Why would it be significant for Israelite parents to pass on to their children the meaning of Passover? God had set apart His people in a very intimate way, and He displayed His faithfulness in this act of protection. On this historic night, it became clear that God had a very special purpose for the Israelite people, and if this truth was not passed down then His desires would go unfulfilled. Israelite parents needed to make their children and grandchildren aware of the fact that they served a living, powerful God who was willing to fight for their well-being. These children needed to know that their lives were significant and they were expected to live in a way that demonstrated a holy covenant with God Almighty.
Verses 50-51 tell us of how God rewarded the Israelites for their obedience to His commands: “Thus did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”
He brought them out of Egypt, thus freeing them from their oppressors and chains.
God wanted the future generations to see how He provided for their ancestors in their time of greatest need. The Lord realized that He would eventually allow His beloved children to enter a land flowing with milk and honey. Thus, in a land of plenty it would be easy to forget one’s desperate need for a Heavenly Father, and a lack of desire would result in a lack of Godly provision. The Lord wanted His children to remember Him for all time, and thus, requested that the Israelites repeat the stories of their history which would always remind them of His supernatural intervention in the desert.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.