Class 50: “Learn About Where You Come From” (Part 2)

Welcome to Class 50 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.

I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.

— Let’s Pray —

Today, we are continuing our study titled, “Learn About Where You Come From”

As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Randall Robinson. He said, “It is impossible to love ourselves without having an affection for Africa.”

Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:

In my last letter, I exhorted you to speak to older black men in general. In this letter, I want to encourage you to take some time and visit your older relatives, and ask them some questions about how it was “back when.” Ask questions like, what did they go through? How did they handle racism? What were my ancestors like? Where did they live? What did they do? What kind of personalities did they have? What made them what they were? What interests, desires and dreams did they have? Dear Y.B.M., you can learn a great deal about yourself by learning about your people. You can learn from their successes as well as their failures and mistakes.

Earlier, I also mentioned the value of books in this regard. Simply put, it would help you greatly to read two or three Black American history books as well as history books on Africa and two or three general American history books. If you read, study, and absorb such books, you will be head and shoulders above the crowd as far as how to handle present situations and people, and as to how to plan for the future.

Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.

After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites roamed in the desert for many years. God wanted to make sure His children had complete faith in His covenant before He lavished the gift of the Promised Land upon them. However, even in the desert they were not alone. God provided for their physical needs every single day. In Exodus 16 we read about how the Lord provided manna and meat for His children to enjoy. For a people roaming in the desert, this was an amazing blessing.

In Exodus 16:31-33 we read: “And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.”

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. 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 save this pot of manna which would always remind them of His supernatural intervention in the desert.

Now, look at Exodus 17:8-14. The Bible says, “Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.”

During this battle, as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. When Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur held up his hands to ensure that Israel eventually got the victory. In verse 14, “the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua.”

Are you beginning to see the pattern? The Lord continuously did remarkable, miraculous things in the presence of His children. He spared their children from the plague of death, He parted an entire body of water so they could cross on dry land, He led them with a cloud by day and fire by night, He provided constant meat and bread in the desert, and He defeated an army of their enemies by raising the arms of the Israelite leader in the air.

After each of these miraculous events, God told Moses to record them or to commemorate them in some way. The parents and grandparents were to pass on these stories to their children and grandchildren so that they, too, would know God and worship Him.

One of the things you can gain from learning about where you come from is an appreciation for how God worked in the lives of your parents and grandparents. As you learn from their experiences — both good and bad — your own faith will be strengthened and you will grow in the knowledge of the Lord.

Let’s Pray.


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, 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.