The innate ambiguity of the political themes raised by this week’s first lectionary text should lead us to hold together both our desire for cohesion as the “people of God” and that same desire’s potential for exclusion—exclusion that we must diligently recognize and actively hold in check.
The quest for a homeland and the experience of being a stranger and an alien—a refugee—in the world is central to the calling of the faithful in Hebrews 11. This reality should remain integral to our self-understanding as the people of God today.
In Deuteronomy 34, Moses ceases to be the leader of Israel. He is brought to the top of Mount Nebo, to look over the Promised Land. Timothy Simpson highlights six relevant principles that we can learn from this account.
It is tempting to airbrush out the uncomfortable reference to the Canaanites living in the land promised by God to Abram. However, the questions raised by this text are worth tarrying with, presenting us with challenges that are deeply pertinent to our own situations.
The Israelites no longer needed God to provide manna for nourishment, but had their own land. The manna, in one sense, represents charity work. It is helpful and gives immediate attention to the person in need. Yet, if we are not advocating for the Promise Land where housing is affordable, jobs are of plenty, oppression is repressed, etc, then we need to have a reality check.