God’s Redemption Plan for Africa

 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance’Isaiah 19:25

In the Bible, Egypt was known for her wealth, agricultural prowess, mighty army, and abundance. It was a powerful empire known worldwide, not only in Africa. When nations faced any trouble, they turned to Egypt not knowing that ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength’ (Jeremiah 17:5). Nonetheless, everyone wanted to be associated with her and none wanted to be an enemy. In fact, God knew Egypt’s ulterior motive and says, ‘Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters. She says, ‘I will rise and cover the earth: I will destroy cities and their people’ (45:v8). They were even considered as gods themselves but God reminds, ‘But the Egyptians are men and not God, their horses are flesh and not spirit’ (Isaiah 31:3).

Egypt was also recognized for its notoriety in idol worship, having many gods, full of superstitions and divination. They consulted ‘idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists’ (19:v3). But God says, ‘Do not learn the ways of the heathen or be terrified by signs of heaven for the heathen are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless’ (Jeremiah 10:2-3). Still, many nations were fascinated with Egypt which was described as ‘a beautiful heifer’ (46:v20).

Only God knew that the beautiful heifer wanted more power and control. Egypt wanted to impose her rule and religion throughout the world in some kind of a One World system. They wanted to be god. But the Lord Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth thwarted her plans. God says, ‘I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh’ (v25). Even after God had showed His undisputed power through plagues, parting of the Red Sea and overthrowing Egypt’s best chariots in order to bring ‘judgement on all the gods of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:12), Egypt still did not revere God. Decades later, God says ‘I am against you Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. 

You say, “The Nile is mine; I made it for myself.” But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams with all the fish sticking to your scales’ (Ezekiel 29:3-4). Not only judgement was decreed on Egypt, but all her allies, ‘Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land’ (Israel) will fall by the sword’ (30:v5). Egypt and her neighbours were descendants of Ham (Psalm 78:51). The people living in Cush located in the upper Nile region, were described as ‘a people tall and smooth-skinned . . . a people feared far and wide . . . an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers’ (Isaiah 18:2,7).

A judgement was decreed for Egypt and the surrounding African nations, as well as its allies. Egypt’s and Africa’s judgement was, ‘I will dry up the streams of the Nile and sell the land to evil men; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it . . . I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis. No longer will there be a Prince in Egypt, and I will spread fear throughout the land’ (Ezekiel 29:12,13).

During that time, ‘Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt’ (v18). God says to Pharaoh whom He describes ‘like a lion among the nations’ (32:v2); ‘I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land’ (v8). In this darkness, Egypt would ‘be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations’ (29:v15). In addition, God says ‘I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord’ (30:v26).

Isaiah describes in detail when he prophesies, that ‘Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old’ (Isaiah 20:4) will be led captive ‘with buttocks bared- to Egypt’s shame’ (v4). True to the prophecy, Africa has many deserts, was colonised by brutal men and foreigners plundered her wealth, some of her people were scattered in diverse nations through captivity and slavery, monarchies are scarce, and we are considered Third World in the Global map. In fact, we were referred to as the ‘Dark Continent’. All this was so that the African people as God says, may know that I am the Lord.

Keenly looking through the establishment of God’s initial nation, Israel, Africa was also featured. Not only was Egypt mentioned as a source of refuge during times of famine for Abraham and Jacob’s family, but a place of prosperity for some Israelites such as Joseph. In fact, alliances were formed by Israelites with Egyptians, bringing the African heritage into Israel’s bloodline. This happened when Joseph was in Egypt, ‘Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Phaneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Photiphera, Priest of On, to be his wife’ (Genesis 41:45).

Joseph and his Egyptian wife had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh who composed of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob say to his son Joseph regarding Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers’ (48:v6). God also says, ‘Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of my head’ (Psalm 60:7). Moses also had a Cushite wife and ‘Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite’ (Numbers 12:1). God did not take this lightly and ‘The anger of the Lord burned against them’ (v9), and Miriam became ‘leprous, like snow’ (v10) for seven days. Also, King ‘Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem’ (1 Kings 3:1).

Long before the plagues, destruction, and captivity, God had already set a plan to redeem His people, Egypt. He reveals this plan through the Prophets, especially Prophet Isaiah when He says, ‘In that day five Cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun’ (Isaiah 19:18). God continues to say, ‘In that day, there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt’ (v19-20). Currently, the heart of Africa is Christianity, which makes up 49% of the Continent’s population. ‘So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord . . . They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them . . . ‘ (v21,22).

In fulfilment of the Prophecy, the Light of Christ started penetrating through the ‘Dark Continent’, as in the rest of the world. The first evidence of this is recorded when God sent one of the Apostles, Phillip, to meet with ‘an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his Chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit told Phillip, ‘Go to that Chariot and stay near it’ (Acts 8:27-29). ‘Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus’ (v35). Since then, the good news about Jesus has caught fire in Africa and is continuing to spread, all to the glory and plan of God.

‘In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth’ ~ Isaiah 19:24

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/gods-redemption-plan-for-africa/

Beauty from ashes: How Christians can honor God in 2021

The events of 2020, while unprecedented to us, are not altogether unique. Humans have undergone similar and much worse trials throughout history, and we are blessed to have reliable evidence of some of these events in the Bible. Perhaps one of the most poignant scriptural similarities of undergoing a collective calamity we have is when the Israelites were fleeing Egypt. In examining their plight and drawing parallels to how we are responding to this current pandemic, it brings up the question, do we want to be like the Israelites, who grumbled and complained during difficulty instead of focusing on God’s plan for them, or will we be different?

Will we allow God to make beauty from our ashes and trust His character no matter what tomorrow brings?

The Israelites may have not been up against the coronavirus, but they perhaps faced even more fear and uncertainty than we are right now. They were terrified at the Red Sea when Pharaoh’s armies were approaching. They were scared they would not have food or water. They were afraid of the giants that roamed the Promised Land. And when they rebelled in their fear and made an idol to worship, plagues were brought down, which could be considered mini pandemics in themselves.

2020 has been one of the most turbulent years not only because of the pandemic but because of all the political and racial tension that has swept the nation. Likewise, in the Old Testament, we see examples of political unrest with Korah’s rebellion as the Israelites challenged Moses’ and Aarons’ God-ordained leadership. Aaron and Marian contested an election when they both challenged Moses as the leader, and unlike now, where recounts and lawsuits settle the challenges, they had to bring the staff before God to reaffirm who He chose.

All of these occasions gave them opportunities to either trust God or turn away from Him out of fear and rebellion. Throughout those trials and tribulations, it was not the Israelites feeling sad, hungry or worn out that angered the Lord. God was angriest with them when they retaliated and tried to displace Him as their leader, even after He delivered them from tyranny and promised that He would remain faithful to the end.

Looking at those stories from the lens of 2020, as Christians, we may be quick to cast judgment on the Israelites for their short term memory loss. How could they so easily distrust God after the myriad miracles He worked for them? But just as many of us have wrung our hands in despair, turned to substance abuse for distraction or become more caught up in fighting people on politics than praying on our knees in spiritual warfare, we are susceptible to the same sin of forgetting God’s goodness and finding something else to idolize.

As 2021 approaches, it is easy to think back on life before the pandemic and wish we could throw this year away and time travel back into what we view as better times. For many of us, myself included, viewing the years through a worldly lens, life did feel better before the pandemic. Yet, our faith is in Him and His promises, not on “better” times of past years. He tells us that if we humble ourselves and turn to Him, He will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:15). We can choose to cling to His promises and goodness as our hope and firm foundation.

Trusting God, especially as we navigate a strange holiday season without our usual gatherings and traditions, can be easier said than done. So I encourage you to make the following practices a priority to have the right spiritual mindset as we brace for a new year:

  1. Thank God every day for the provisions He has provided for you.
  2. Praise Him for what He has done for our country and throughout the world during this time and also throughout history.
  3. Set an appointment with yourself and take time multiple times each day to praise Him.
  4. Be intentional with what you breathe in and out; are you complaining more often than praising? Are the people you are spending time with bringing you closer to the Lord?
  5. Go for a walk every day, and talk with God. Let Him know how you feel, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you during this time.

Our pride, in thinking we have control, is the biggest stumbling block we have before us. How much better is it to release control and not have to carry the weight of the future on our shoulders anymore?

While we cannot reverse 2020, we can respond in a way that pleases Him. Unlike the Israelites who tried to take over when things didn’t go as planned, we can give up control and trust that He will never leave us or forsake us and heal our land. By doing so, we will begin to see God’s goodness and His unwavering faithfulness, which is worthy of all our praise.

Peter Demos is the author of “Afraid to Trust,” restaurateur, president and CEO of Demos’ Brands and Demos Family Kitchen and leadership source expert.

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/beauty-from-ashes-how-christians-can-honor-god-in-2021.html

VIDEO God and Our Money

April 26, 2019

 

When you consider your finances, what comes to mind? What you have or don’t have? Whom you owe or what to buy? Do you feel stress, or are you at peace? God’s Word offers much wisdom for our financial decisions. In this message, Dr. Stanley covers common concerns, discussing what God thinks, says, and promises regarding personal finances—and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles. Discover the path to generosity and provision as you learn how to trust Him with this important area of life.

KEY PASSAGE: Proverbs 3:5-10Luke 6:38

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: 1 Chronicles 29:12 | Psalm 50:12 | Haggai 1:5-6 | Malachi 3:8-12 | Luke 12:16-21 | Luke 18:28-29 | 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 | James 1:17

SUMMARY

When you consider your finances, do you feel emotional turmoil and stress, or are you at peace? What thoughts come to mind?

Do you focus on how much you don’t have, how much you’d like to have, what you could do to increase your income, or what you would do with more money? These are common concerns for all of us, but there’s another spiritual aspect we should consider when we think about our finances—what does God have to say about it, and what would He have us give away?

SERMON POINTS

When it comes to our personal finances, it’s important to understand that we must follow God’s principles and not human advice or reasoning. We need to know what God thinks, says, and promises regarding financial decisions and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles.

  • Proverbs 3:5-10 provides divine guidance that applies to financial matters as well as every other area of life. We are told to trust God and not rely on our own understanding. This means we honor Him with our wealth by giving Him the first part of what we receive. If we follow this advice, the Lord promises to supply our needs.

The Basic Teaching of Scripture

• God owns it all. “For the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Ps. 50:12). This is a difficult truth for many people to accept because from a human perspective, we’ve worked to earn all that we have. However, we are not the owners of anything but the caretakers, managers, or stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us. He is the source and giver of our money and possessions.

To illustrate what happens when we forget this truth, Jesus told a parable about a rich man whose land was so productive that he had to build larger barns to store it all (Luke 12:16-21). He foolishly said to himself, “You have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (v. 19). But God rebuked him, saying, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (v. 20). Then Jesus concluded the story by saying, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).

We are all only one heartbeat away from losing all our earthly goods. Then we must stand before the Lord to hear His evaluation of our lives. The time to live wisely according to God’s instruction is now.

• God wants us to give. Malachi 3:8-12 shows us God’s perspective on tithing. The Lord equated the people’s withholding of tithes and offerings with robbing Him. Then He told them, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (v. 10). Although this was spoken to the nation of Israel, the reasons for generosity still apply to us today.

  1. To provide for the Lord’s work.
  2. To provide for the needs of others.
  3. To prove to us that God is faithful.

• God wants us to give cheerfully. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Our heart attitude is very important to the Lord. He wants us to give voluntarily and happily out of love and gratitude.

• God warns about disobedience in giving. Since we are commanded by the Lord to give Him a portion of what He’s entrusted to us, there are consequences if we choose to disobey Him. In Haggai 1:6, the Lord reprimanded the people of Judah for their disobedience saying, “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

Giving to God is not just a demonstration of appreciation, thoughtfulness, and generosity; it’s an act of obedience. He has provided us with every good gift, but if we neglect Him, everything we earn or acquire will not give genuine satisfaction. That only comes with obedience.

God’s Plan for Our Giving to Him

  • His Motivation. God loves us and wants us to understand that He is the one who enables us to prosper financially. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone” (1 Chron. 29:12).
  • His Promise. “Your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:10). The Lord blesses those who trust Him enough to give as He desires.
  • His Protection. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes” (Mal. 3:11). When we follow God’s guidelines for our finances, we don’t have to fear deprivation because He leads us to make wise financial decisions according to His will.
  • His Generosity. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). The Lord gives us more than we expect or deserve.
  • His Sufficiency. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8).

Our willingness to follow God’s financial principles is a matter of trust in His Word. If we are confident that He will do what He has said, we’ll be generous, knowing that He will be faithful to supply our needs when we give Him a portion of all He’s provided for us.

RESPONSE

  • Is it difficult for you to trust God with your finances? If so, what are you afraid will happen if you begin to give a portion of your income to Him?
  • What attributes of God reassure you that He can be trusted to supply your needs if you will obey Him in the matter of giving?

https://www.intouch.org/watch/god-and-our-money