God’s confounding way
By Earnest Maswera, Country Director of Zimbabwe for Tearfund.
It is such a privilege to find a place of refuge. Ravaging wars and persecution in many of our countries across the world have resulted in people fleeing to seek refuge where there is safety. In today’s reading from Joshua, the Bible names six cities as being places of refuge: Bezer, Ramoth and Golan on the east (left bank) of the Jordan River, and Kedesh, Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron), west of the Jordan. I like the concept that God chose places of safety for his people and these indeed were priestly cities.
Fast forward to when Jesus is born. An angel of the Lord tells Christ's family to seek refuge in Egypt. Matthew 2:13 presents an interesting scenario. The Lord instructs Mary and Joseph to take the child to Africa, a place the world has called ‘a dark continent’. How would the Lord see the safety of baby Jesus there?
The Lord regularly confounds the expectations of people. In the case of King David, Jesse and Samuel expected God to choose one of his taller and stronger brothers. But they were looking at the outward appearance. They were judging only with their eyes. But the Lord said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7: 'The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'
Skin color has become one of the measures of man’s judgement on the affairs of God’s world, bringing division and creating an ‘us and them’ mindset. How the Lord confounds the world by choosing Christ to grow in the safety of Egypt, choosing David over the might of his brother, and setting cities of refuge! What measures and scales do we use to judge the streets of God's world? Do we look at the outward appearance or do we look at the heart?
It looks like we have run away from your intention of a world where relationships are key and justice is central. Forgive us when we have looked at outward appearance and not the heart.
Let me see Christ in everybody.