ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, June 23   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
 

Amram and Jochebed - Overcoming fear

How will we react if God calls us to take a step of faith which could have drastic consequences?

FAITHFUL UNDER PRESSURE AUTHOR Michael Gowen 14 JANUARY 2018 18:00 h GMT+1
Photo: Caleb B (CC)

This week Open Doors has published its 2018 World Watch List, categorising the 50 countries of the world where persecution of Christians is most severe.



As for each of the past 13 years, North Korea once again heads the list. In that country, if it is discovered that you are a Christian, you face arrest, torture, imprisonment, and perhaps even public execution; you are considered to be a spy and traitor of the nation, and are condemned for treason. There are an estimated 50,000-70,000 Christians in North Korean labour camps, most with little hope of ever getting out.



However, the most brutal persecutions in history have generally not been for religious but for ethnic reasons. Think of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, where 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the space of 100 days. Think of the extermination of 1,500,000 Armenians between 1915 and 1923 by the Ottoman and Turkish governments. Think of the 6,000,000 Jews murdered under the Nazi regime in the Second World War.



Persecution of the Jews goes back a long way. When Moses was born over 3,000 years ago their Egyptian overlords were trying to eliminate their ethnic identity by killing every Jewish baby boy at birth. Attempts to recruit the local midwives to this process had failed, so “Pharaoh gave the order to all of his people: ‘Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live’” (Exodus 1:15-22).



How horrendous was it to for a family to be thrust so abruptly from the joy of giving birth to a son and heir to the tragedy of having the child snatched away by some Egyptian snooper and thrown into the river - and being able to do nothing about it. The collective grief of the Jewish mothers and fathers is almost unimaginable; and   grief like that quickly brings resignation and despair. The Psalmist says, “Horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest’” (Psalm 55:8-9). All he could think about was somehow escaping from his situation. Job in the depths of his suffering says (17:7), “My eyes have grown dim with grief” - I no longer have any clear perspective on my situation.



In the midst of this collective grief and despair a couple called Amram and Jochebed give birth to a baby boy. They already have a girl, Miriam; now they have a boy too! What is more, it was immediately apparent that this child was special.  Yes, all of my children and grandchildren were special when they were born - they were so much more wonderful than any other baby - and I am sure you have had exactly the same experience if you are a parent or grandparent. Yet there was something different about this new baby: we are not told how it was evident, but “he was no ordinary child” (Acts 7:20).



What were Amram and Jochebed to do? There were no doubt Egyptians keeping an eye out for heavily pregnant Jewish women, ready to pounce on their offspring as soon as they were born. Childbirth is not a silent activity, so attention would have been drawn to them. Nor are tiny babies silent creatures. Yet somehow this couple was able to rise above the grief and despair of their community and decide to try to give their son a chance to live, even though Pharaoh had decreed that any Jewish couple found with a baby boy would be severely punished, probably put to death.



How were they able to do this? “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict” (Hebrews 11:23). Their living conditions would probably have resembled a present-day refugee camp, where everybody is living on top of each other, walls are paper thin and privacy is at a premium. Quite how you can hide a baby for three months in a situation like that, I have no idea. But they managed it! Faith motivated them, and God responded to that faith by keeping the baby safe.



At the end of the three months Jochebed realised that “she could hide him no longer” (Exodus 2:2). Perhaps she got a tip-off that a neighbour had informed on her, or that an Egyptian had discovered her secret and would be soon knocking on her door. Even when faced with this setback, she does not resign herself to despair, but faith enables her to concoct a plan. She places the boy in a basket among the reeds on the bank of the River Nile and stations her daughter nearby to see what will happen next (Exodus 2:3-4).



If you have ever been to Sunday school, you certainly know the happy ending: Pharaoh’s daughter ‘happens’ to find baby Moses, is enchanted with him, adopts him as her own son and allows Jochebed to nurse him for the first few years of his life, not knowing that she is his biological mother (Exodus 2:5-10). Moses grows up in Pharaoh’s palace and so becomes uniquely qualified to lead his people out of Egypt in due course.



It is this same faith which causes North Korean Christians today not to fear Kim Jong-Un’s edict and to share their Christian faith with family and friends. This same faith motivates North Korean refugees who have discovered Jesus Christ in China to return back to share their new-found faith with their fellow countrymen and women, fully aware of the dangers. God will certainly respond to that faith, as he did to the faith of Amram and Jochebed - which is why there are an estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea today. Will we stand with them and pray for them?



And how will we react if God calls us to take a step of faith which could have drastic consequences, or when fear looms large before us?


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Amram and Jochebed - Overcoming fear
 
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
 
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.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
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.

 
How can churches better support singles? How can churches better support singles?

Tina Tschage, on some areas in which other Christians can encourage singles.

 
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.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
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.