HOW BOLD ARE YOU?
And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem and from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. Genesis 33:18-20
Imagine moving to India, and just outside a major city, you erect a monument with the inscription, ‘The Mighty God Of Israel.’ As you do it, you know that everyone around you is a Hindu. Your proclaimed affiliation with any God other than Hindu gods marks you as different. In today’s world, that invites retaliation, even death.
Jacob’s boldness is a challenge to every modern-day Christian. Timidity will not serve God well in these days when opposition is growing. While many have enjoyed walking in neutrality, never revealing their beliefs for fear of not fitting in, the time is here when we are being forced to choose publically whom we will serve.
In Mosul, Iraq – this Saturday at noon – every Christian is facing a deadline imposed by ISIS. They have three choices. Pay the Jazeera tax and convert to Islam, renounce their belief in God, or die by beheading. This ultimatum was given less than 10 days ago and as I’ve been praying for our brothers and sisters, and their children, I’ve been envisioning what is transpiring behind closed doors. Parents are preparing their children for the end. They are comforting them with the promise that they will see Jesus in a few short days but also getting them ready for the short burst of horrific persecution.
It is prudent for us to put ourselves in their place. By doing so, our heart is stirred to pray with an intensity born of identification and empathy. It also enables us to role-play for what may be coming our way. Are we bold enough to display our altars to the God of Israel in the midst of Shechem?
How long, Lord, before You come and reign? How long will the blood of martyrs spill on our streets? For Your honor and glory, may only Your sovereign plans for Your people prevail. Amen