DELIVERER! That’s often the word that comes to mind when I think of Jesus particularly during the month of February, Black History Month in the United States. Black History Month was formally acknowledged by the federal government in 1976. It was a time to celebrate the history and contributions of African Americans from slavery time to the present.
Growing up in the Black Church, we were always reminded of how God delivered our people from slavery, through the Civil Rights Movement and unjust Jim Crow laws, and beyond. The suffering and oppression of African Americans was often linked to God’s hand and deliverance of his chosen people, Israel in the Old Testament. God’s deliverance of the Israelites from their sufferings at the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt provided African Americans with hope and inspiration that God would also deliver them. The understanding of God’s miraculous power, faith, hope and His promises were at the core of many Negro spirituals.
When I think about the deliverance God provided to the Israelites and how He has delivered African Americans from a place of slavery, I’m also reminded of the word Moses constantly spoke to the Israelites, “Remember!”
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm… (Deut 5:15).”
“But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt (Deut 7:18).”
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today (Deut 8:18).”
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you (Deut. 15:15; 24:18, 22).
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees (Deut. 16:12).”
“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your fathers and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you (Deut. 32:7).”
We all have a responsibility to remember the things God has done. We can remember the work of the Lord throughout history, through our family lineages, and our personal lives, and we should tell these stories to our children. Our history and legacies should not be forgotten. They are all a part of God’s redemptive story. Therefore, we can look back even to the difficult times and remember when God delivered.
Do you remember the great things God has done for you? Have you forgotten his mighty hand at work in your life? The same God who delivered the Israelites and African Americans out of slavery, is all powerful to deliver you from whatever situation you are in today. Remember who He is and what he has done. If He did it before, He can do it again. He most certainly will deliver you. If you find yourself in a dry place today, I give you the same words God gave to Joshua when he and the Israelites came out of the wilderness: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).” Jesus is with you always, even until the very end of this age (Matt. 28:20). He is our mighty deliverer!
Trust God! Hold on, my sister, my brother. Hold On!
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013