God equips us to live in alien territory

Even before the all-knowing God created the heavens and the earth, He knew that His followers would live in a hostile world under the control of His enemy, the devil.1  Yet Colossians 1:13 says that He will help us to defect from the reign of Satan if we want to, ‘For He [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us unto the Kingdom of the Son He loves….’ 2

#  Guess who hates us?

The devil is not in the least impressed when we escape from his kingdom of darkness.  So followers of Jesus are subjected to his ‘xenophobic’ attacks.  However, God did not leave us defenceless, ‘…Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.…’ 3

#  The sword is Scripture.

Scripture has many promises of protection and help like:

  • ‘God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea….’ 4
  • ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ 5  It refers to the omnipotent Creator God who made the heavens and the earth in six twenty four hour days.  That is why He can help—He is powerful.
  • The well known ‘warrior psalm,’ Psalm 91.

#  The Holy Spirit helps us.

There are many more ‘defence’ and ‘protection’ verses in Scripture.  All we need to do is ask the Holy Spirit to direct us to the ones we need in a specific situation.  That doesn’t mean that we can then relax and God will apply them in our lives while we carry on living.  No, we need to proclaim them.  Why?

#  The Israelites who entered Canaan are an example.

God gave the Israelites wonderful promises that He would drive out their enemies before them when they entered Canaan.  He would send hornets ahead of them, He would deliver their enemies into their hands, they were to drive them out little by little, et cetera. 6  It certainly did not mean that they could just saunter into Canaan, and God would kill all the enemies.  They had to fight, guided by God.   We, like the Israelites, have to take up our sword in the Word for victory. 7

#  It is prayer and proclamation that annihilates the enemy.

We have to speak God’s Word.  Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah and many others did it.  It is not enough to have a Bible but not use it.  It is like owning a weapon that you don’t use.  It is prayer, proclamation and faith in God’s Word that gives protection and victory.

Conclusion

In Scripture (all 66 books), God provides the means of protection against xenophobic attacks.  Even though there is increasing hatred against God’s people world wide, we are not defenceless.  Jesus said, ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ 8

References

  1. 1 John 5:19
  2. Colossians 1:12
  3. Ephesians 6:10-18
  4. Psalm 46:1-3
  5. Psalm 121:1-8
  6. Deuteronomy 7:17-24
  7. Joshua 1-12
  8. Luke 10:19

God, South Africa and xenophobia

People who read the news probably know about the ugly attacks onXenophobia foreigners in South Africa. It was, among other things, spurred on by the comments of the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, supported by the president’s son, Edward Zuma. Xenophobia is described as an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

The reason for the attacks was supposed to be that foreigners steal the jobs of indigenous people. It is a smoke screen, because immigrants are often hardworking people who contribute to the welfare of a country. Looting their shops had nothing to do with their supposed stealing of jobs.

What is interesting is the relationship between the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and those against the citizens of God’s Kingdom. The resemblance is that Christians are ‘foreigners’ who live in a country ruled by the devil.1  The ruler of the kingdom of darkness harasses and injures citizens of the Kingdom of Light. It is often not physical, but emotional and spiritual. It aligns with the definition of the word ‘xenophobia,’ an intense dislike of people (in this case those who belong to God).

Two facts about the  xenophobic attacks against Christians are:

  1. Satan, the devil, is ruler of this present world.1
  2. We are saved out of the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Light.2  The devil, the ruler of the dark kingdom, hates those who defected from his kingdom.

Why does the omnipotent Creator God allow the ruler, or prince of this world, to harass His people? God allows it, because He is testing us to find out if we will remain loyal to Him?  Eternity is a long time, and God wants to be sure we will continue to love Him. We know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character hope. Hope does not disappoint, since God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. 3

While we can never condone xenophobia in the world, we as faithful followers of Jesus have to remember that xenophobic attacks on Christians will never stop this side of the grave. However, we always have help, ‘…Our help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth.’ 4  Call upon the Lord, because He hears and acts.

References

  1. 1 John 5:19, ‘We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’
  2. Colossians 1:13, ‘For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.’
  3. Romans 5:4-5
  4. Psalm 121:1
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