1Ch 12:32 (KJV)
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…
I was in a church recently, and the pastor was talking about the authority and power of the body of Christ. He said something along the lines that this message might be the most important message for the body of Christ at this time. Had I been in another church, I might have heard that the most important message was holiness or healing, being filled with the Spirit, evangelism, being baptized or giving.
I believe that in America, there may be no more important sermon or message in this hour than unity. Racism, discord, and division threaten to tear our nation apart. It is at such a time as this that the church needs to speak.
Discord and division are two of the oldest sins in the Bible, preceded only by pride. In Heaven, Lucifer took pride in attributes of himself that ironically were created by God. His pride was the precursor to division. Lucifer’s pride caused him to believe that he deserved to be at a higher place than the other angels and even God Himself. This evil spread to the point where it caused division and discord in heaven and ultimately infected a third of the angels.
Rev 12:7 (KJV)
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:4 (KJV)
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth…
Isa 14:12 (NIV)
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Satan brought the sins of pride, discord, and division with him into the earth. He used them in the garden of Eden to separate Adam and Eve from God. He used them to separate Moses, Aaron, and Miriam:
Num 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.
In this passage, it may appear that Aaron and Miriam are divided over the issue of whether Moses is the only person that hears from God. Later in the passage, God does make it clear that He speaks to Moses more frequently and intimately as His chosen leader. However, the first verse reveals that Aaron and Miriam are upset that Moses had an Ethiopian, black, wife.
Aaron and Miriam are not upset because Moses’ wife, Zipporah, worshipped other gods. They were all of the same faith. Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro, “the priest of Midian” (Exo 3:1). We know that she agreed to follow Hebrew customs as she circumcised Moses’ son (Exo 4:25). Her father mentored Moses in the Hebrew faith customs.
Though Aaron and Miriam’s words disguise the issue as one of authority, the real issue was race. Satan was using the issue of race to try to divide the future leaders of the Hebrew nation. Obviously, God did not have an issue with the race of Moses’ wife. He made no mention of it when He spoke to the three of them about her in Num 12:5-9 or in Exo 2:21 when Jethro gave her to be Moses’ wife.
It’s not surprising that Satan tried to divide the leaders by using race. As previously stated, in Satan, the sin of pride first manifested. He believed that since he was created different, that he was created superior. On its simplest level, racism is the prideful belief that your God-given characteristics (features, skin tones, country of origin) make you better than someone with different God-given characteristics.
Racism is also contaminated with the sin of error in that it flies in the face of the Scriptural truths that God has made of one blood all nations of men and that He is no respecter of persons. Sinful pride leads to superior attitudes and divisive actions. Satan’s pride in his God-given attributes led to “war in Heaven” (Rev 12:7).
America’s Civil War at its root was founded in the prideful notion that all men were not in fact, created equal as the Bible states and as the Founding Fathers espoused in America’s Declaration of Independence. Satan used one group’s prideful belief in the superiority of its God-given attributes to exalt itself above the truths about men written in the Word of God. Adherence to these unbiblical beliefs divided a nation.
The issues have changed over the years: slavery, the Indian Removal Act/Trail of Tears the Chinese Exclusion Act, migrant farm workers, anti-semitism civil rights, gentrification, gerrymandering, and immigration reform. The underlying thread in all these, however, is the unbiblical notion that all men are not created equal.
How long will the church remain divided between two opinions? Either God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26) or He has not. How can the church be so vocal on other issues and be by comparison, silent on the issue in our nation’s history that has consistently led to the shedding of blood and loss of life?
As a Christian, I expect that the sins of the flesh would be manifest on earth until Christ’s return. I expect to see racism, division, and prideful discord—outside the church. Inside the church, I expect to see the love of God and views based on that love. Inside the church and from the church’s leaders, I expect to see and hear a noticeably different view, based on Scripture and what we believe to be true about the character and nature of God.
Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The unchurched, the unbeliever, should be able to look to the church not only as a source for Biblical views about race but also for visible demonstrations of those views. Unfortunately, you cannot defeat what you do not discern. If the church cannot become aware of its blind spot in this area, it will never work to correct it. The body of Christ must be like “the children of Issachar,” having an “understanding of the times” and what needs to be done.
At a time in America where racial tension and discord are higher than they have been in nearly a generation, we must let our light and example shine. We as Christians must not hide the truth of the Word of God as it pertains to race and division. We must not allow worldly, unbiblical views about race and division to be associated with, attributed to, or worse be endorsed by the church.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV)
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Our gospel is not a white gospel, a black gospel, a Hispanic, Asian, or other gospel. If we let the enemy of our faith succeed in portraying it in this way, the “lost” and the “blind” that are not of our particular group will look on us and not see “light” or anything different from what they practice. The result: they will remain lost and blind. This tragic result is the whole purpose of Satan at this strategic hour in our nation; to leverage racism, discord, and division within the church, in order to steal the church’s witness and its harvest of souls.
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