Missiology Through Scripture – Deuteronomy 26:5

“And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.’” – Deuteronomy 26:5

Jacob, who married the daughters of an Aramean (Laban) is the Aramean referenced in this passage. The mentioning of his wandering is likely a reference Jacob’s frequently evolving circumstances and his travels to Aram, Canaan and Egypt (Gen 28-46). Jacob wandered as he fulfilled his pastoral duties. He moved from place to place and lived in many temporary circumstances. Jacob had few certainties in his life, other than his covenant with God.

This verse sits in a larger passage (Deut 26:5-9) which is frequently referenced as the “little creed.” It recalls thanksgiving for God’s invariable faithfulness to Israel. God’s commitment to love his elect people and to provide them with all they need to accomplish his will is unwavering. Paul Gilchrist said, “The recital of the creed serves as a testimony acknowledging his family roots, the history of God’s redemptive work, and his present inheritance as a gift of God’s grace in redemption—all in fulfillment of God’s oath verifying the covenant promises.”[1] Israel was small and “few in number” with little to call their own, but the Lord would use them for greatness.

From the humble beginnings of God’s people, he always intended to use his elect to be the foundation of a people who would be the worldly representation of his covenantal commitment to provide salvation for the unworthy. Israel was formed and sanctified into the foundation of the future. Jesus descended from the great nation and through his blood all of his disciples are adopted into the family of God’s beloved elect. From Jacob to Jesus to Christians today, it was always intended for us to become part of God’s nation, which he would use to reach every tribe and tongue with his merciful message of grace. What a show of love it is to see how God planned to use us from the beginning.


[1] Paul R. Gilchrist, “Deuteronomy,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 125.