As a child I was obsessed with baseball cards. I remember once playing with my cards with some friends during recess at school. We would throw them at the wall and whoever could land their card closest to the wall would get to keep all the cards. As recess was ending, the rabbi walked into the classroom. He was curious as to what we were doing so he asked us to explain the game to him, so we did. When we finished the explanation he had this inquisitive look on his face as if he did not fully understand the game. We waited to hear what he had to say. He looked at us and said, “Well, what does God have to say about the game?” I remember thinking to myself, “Does God really care about a bunch of kids and their baseball cards?”
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2) The first of the ten commandments identifies God as the one who brought the Jewish people out of Egypt. Why is God not identified as the creator of the world? It would seem that creating the world is far more extraordinary and grandiose than the exodus. God took the Israelites out of Egypt? God made Egypt and the Egyptians! ‘I am the Lord your God who created the world’ would have been a more powerful statement.
Unfortunately, there are many people that believe in God but act as if God does not exist. The reason for this is that they only believe in the God that created the world. God created the world but what does that have to do with me? Creation is awesome but is God really concerned with little old me? The answer is a resounding yes.
God identifies Himself with the exodus precisely to teach us that He is still involved in the world. He is not only the creator of the world but he interacts with the world and cares very much about what we do and how the world is progressing. Had God identified Himself merely as the creator, then perhaps He would not really care about little boys and their baseball cards. But He does. There is nothing that is too trivial for God. The rabbi wanted us to know that God has a say about everything.
What does this mean practically for you and me? When you wake up in the morning and begin your day, know that it is God who returned your soul to you and cares about how you will spend your waking hours. What will you pursue during your day? During your lifetime? Will it be done with integrity and honesty? Will you bring God in to the world or live as if He merely created the world but does not care about what you do?
In Jewish tradition we have a beautiful prayer that we say immediately upon arising even before we get out of bed. Here it is: “I gratefully thank you, O living and eternal King, for you have returned my soul to me with compassion—abundant is your faithfulness.” What does the last word ”faithfulness” mean? It means that God has faith in you! If He granted you another day, it means that He has faith in you that you will make something out of your day! Wow! It is awesome knowing that God has faith in you. God is involved in the world, in your life and cares very much what you do. More important than you having faith in God is, knowing that God has faith in you.