Matters of Faith: Honoring Heritage and Taking Responsibility

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

Deuteronomy‬ ‭11:2, 19 NKJV‬‬

“Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm—
You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”


Children have not had the experiences of their parents. Children do not know what their parents know. It is the responsibility of adults to teach children so that they have a knowledge and an appreciation of history and ancestry.

Moses writes to the adult Israelites who came out of Egyptian slavery and now heading towards the land that was promised to them. Moses quotes the words of God who reminds them that He had not spoken to nor given instruction to their children. They had not seen the devastating defeat of the Egyptians, how He took care of them in the wilderness until they arrived at their present location, how He handled those who were opposing them, nor had they witnessed the miraculous way He wrote His commandments on tablets of stone, just for them. The children had not seen how the Lord protected them from their enemies, shielded them from the ravages of the elements, and provided for their every need by His mighty power. Moses tells them that the Lord will continue providing and protecting them as long as they love Him as their Lord, serve Him with all their hearts, and earnestly obey his commandments.

The Israelites were charged by God to teach all these things to their children. They were to teach while they were sitting in their homes, walking or traveling, before they go to bed at night, and in the morning after they rise. Their future, their legacy, depended on them transferring this knowledge to their children.

The Bloody Sunday march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965. 

The story of the Israelites going through their wilderness experience and the Lord’s instruction to them is an example for us to likewise teach our history to our children while we are sitting at home, traveling to-and-fro, before bed at night and in the morning when we rise. It was vitally important that their children understood their history. They needed to know who, what, where, why and how their ancestors were able to survive and thrive through their wilderness experiences. That experience was first shared with the Children of Israel, but it now includes everyone who is a part of the inheritance by faith.

It is no different for us today. As we approach one of the most critical elections in the history of this nation, an election that some say challenge the way of life in America, it is essential that we understand the importance of teaching our children the impact of the vote in this nation. For those of us of African American descent, who did not fully win the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law on August 6, 1965, know that that right is now available to every citizen of the United States of America.

What a sobering thought that the right to vote happened in my lifetime. My parents, and countless others who were eligible to vote because of their age, were not given that right. I am one of the adults who has been charged with sharing the history so that the Lord will continue providing for and protecting us in the democratic process as He provided for the Israelites.

Sharing was a command, not a request. Like the Israelites and those of subsequent generations, our future is determined by our actions today. So, honor your heritage — vote!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and Matters of Faith YouTube channel.

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