Exodus 1:12-13 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.
Sometimes when people are oppressed because of their faith, they grow in numbers. Christianity in China is a good example of this. In 1949 when the Communists took control of China, there were only about 500,000 Christians in the nation. After persecuting the church for more than sixty years, how many Christians are there in China? 84 million.
It appears that when Christianity is backed into a corner and almost annihilated, it finds a new way out and grows. Perhaps at some future point in our decadent and deviant Western society, we will see a real re-emergence of the church because Christians will once again stand up for their beliefs, instead of embracing the culture which is causing a passive church to wither and decay.
Long ago, the Egyptians used a form of genocide in an attempt to wipe out the Jewish community in their midst. It didn’t work because God’s will could not be thwarted by mere politics, no matter how powerful the leader of the Egyptians appeared to be. Moses was predestined to be born and become a great leader of his people. God desired this, so human wickedness would not prevail.
In years to come, missionaries will be sent from Africa and Asia, India and China to Europe and the Americas in order to reclaim churches and Christians for Christ. God’s work will not be undone and Christ’s words will always endure. Our role in our churches today is to be faithful to God’s Word and serve Christ truly, even when it is unpopular. If we do that then a people yet unborn may be reclaimed for Christ and His Kingdom.
Questions for personal reflection
Has my faith grown in times of adversity? Have I personally shared my Christian beliefs with the upcoming generation?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, all over the world people are praising Your Name and believing in Your Words. New churches are springing up in hostile areas and Your mission is being accomplished across this planet. Help us to strengthen our faith, in the good times as well as the bad. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question of today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is another of John’s 2012 Advent drawings simply called “Advent.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8063/8192865892_9d85b325b4_b.jpg