Greetings from the National Order of the Arrow Conference at Indiana University in Bloomington.
This week, in Parasha Eikev, Moses continues his review of certain important commandments given earlier in the Torah. He emphasizes all that God has done for the Children of Israel in bringing them out of Egypt using signs and wonders, and safeguarding them on their journey to the land promised to the Patriarchs.
Moses tells the people that if they will keep the mitzvot, God will multiply their numbers, and give them cattle, flocks, grain, wine and oil. He tells them not to be afraid of the peoples living in Canaan, and that God will help them settle the Land.
He warns the people that they must not become convinced of their own importance and forget that their material success was not due only to their hard work, but is a gift from God. When the people think, “My strength and the might of my hand made me all this wealth.” then the people will remember that it was God who gave them the strength to make the wealth, to fulfill the promise God made to the Patriarchs.
As we camp and hike this fall, we will have many chances to appreciate God’s gifts. In the outdoors and close to nature, we sense more clearly God’s influence on our lives – the beautiful landscapes, the weather (whether good or bad), the calm of morning and evening, the beauty of the night sky, the sweet smell of a light rain, the chirping of birds – all created by God.
Our ability to make ourselves comfortable in God’s great outdoors is another gift. Our intelligence, creativity, good sense, strength, senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste – all are divine presents for us to use every day.
So enjoy yourself out on the trail and the many gifts from the Great Master of All Scouts.