ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, July 18   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Migration
Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Gowen
 

A new king - Out in the cold

There is always much more going on in the heavenly realms than we are aware of here on earth.

FAITHFUL UNDER PRESSURE AUTHOR Michael Gowen 29 OCTOBER 2017 16:00 h GMT+1
bridge, city Photo: Joshua Fuller (Unsplash, CC)

I once had a boss who was promoted very rapidly in the European Commission, not only because of her abilities but also through having previously worked very closely with the Director-General of our service. In the course of time this Director-General reached the age of retirement and ‘a new king who did not know about my boss came to power’.



Our new Director-General wanted to demonstrate his independence from the ancien régime, so began not only to change much of what had been done previously, but also treated with suspicion and moved to the sidelines anybody who was perceived to have been close to his predecessor. So, my boss suddenly found herself catapulted from being golden girl, where her ideas and suggestions were given a warm welcome in the management group, to being cast out in the cold, at times even feeling deliberately obstructed.



It is exactly the same in politics. David Cameron resigns as British Prime Minister and is replaced by Theresa May; his Chancellor, George Osborne, suddenly moves from being golden boy to being sacked, and ends up leaving Parliament. In the US when a new president or governor takes power, he or she usually clears out all the top officials and replaces them with people who are close to him. This process is less dramatic in the British civil service, with its long tradition of political independence; but there are many examples of a new minister eventually forcing out senior officials who were not to his or her taste. How do things work in your country?



This is far from being a new phenomenon. Over three millennia ago, “A new king, who did not know about Joseph came to power in Egypt” (Exodus 1:8). Previous Pharaohs had remembered with gratitude how the Israelite Joseph had saved the land of Egypt from being destroyed by famine, and so treated his people well. However, this new Pharaoh had a completely different take: all he could see was Israelites who had grown so vast in number that to him they represented a threat to national security (Exodus 1:9-10).



So this new Pharaoh did what most people in power do when they feel their position to be threatened: he sought to eliminate the threat. First of all, he tried enslaving the Israelites, with unrelenting hard labour; but this had the opposite effect. The more the Israelites were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread. This really freaked him out. Oppressors know only the language of coercion, so when oppression does not work, they become disturbed, even afraid; and fear plus oppression leads to even worse brutality (Exodus 1:11-14). Look, for example, at how the Burmese army is treating its Rohingya people today, or how the North Korean government deals with even the minutest expression of dissidence.



Have you ever found yourself in a situation where ‘a new king who did not know you came to power’ and suddenly you were no longer favoured but instead were viewed with suspicion? If not, you are very fortunate. If so, you were probably not oppressed as brutally as the Israelites in Egypt; but whatever the circumstances, it is very hard to move from favour to disfavour – like Daniel, who moved from being the trusted confidant of King Nebuchadnezzar to being out in the cold with his son Belshazzar (Daniel 5).



How will we react if we face this kind of situation in future? What advice will we give to a friend who is going through it? How will we cope when we pray to God day after day for relief from our situation, but he seems to do nothing? - just as the Israelites prayed, but their oppression only got worse. Decades later the Lord tells Moses, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7-8). But in the midst of their oppression they would never have been aware of this.



Two things may help us. Firstly, we need to avoid the mistake of equating silence from heaven with inactivity or lack of concern on God’s part. There is always much more going on in the heavenly realms than we are aware of here on earth. For example, it took 21 days to get an answer through to Daniel’s prayers, to overcome the spiritual opposition which it faced (Daniel 10:12-14). Jesus is very clear: “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? He is patient alongside them. I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:7-8). The problem is that God’s ‘quickly’ is usually not the same as ours.



Secondly, we need to be aware that God can use these situations to develop character in us through discipline – and our character is much more important to him than the position which we hold. Romans 5:3-5 explains how suffering leads to character. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who are trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11); and discipline cannot be avoided (Hebrews 12:8).



I recall a friend of mine who once had a boss who seemed to thwart him at every turn, and disregarded his contributions to the company – probably out of insecurity. Fast forward a number of years: that boss was fired long ago, and my friend progressed to a senior position in the company. There is not always a happy ending; but there is always the development of our character through tough situations like this.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - A new king - Out in the cold
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines

The Kirk has begun official procedures to investigate the status and the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith within its denomination.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.