Entries for June 2014

The good news: being pro-life is no longer the number-one reason Christians are disliked. The bad news: that ranking has been replaced by another of our dearly held beliefs -- the sanctity of marriage. Throw in our "anti-science" viewpoints -- doubt over evolution and man-made climate change -- and it certainly looks as though we're going to continue to be "on the wrong side of history" (according to opinion shapers) and unlikely to win future popularity contests.

That isn't such a bad thing.

Consider how the ancient Egyptians felt about God's chosen people. Twice in Genesis (a major source for our troublesome worldview) Hebrews were said to be "loathsome" to the dominant culture (NASV). Even though they were linked by blood to a national hero, Gen. 43:32 basically says Egyptians detested the thought of eating with Hebrews. 

Their occupation was another strike against them. Gen. 46:34 says, "every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians" (NKJV). Note that every shepherd was repulsive, no matter the nationality and no matter how agreeable or well-connected the individual might be. Too bad shepherding happened to be the Hebrews' main livelihood.

The third strike against the Hebrews is found in Exodus 8:26, where Moses acknowledged to Pharaoh that their worship practices would also be abhorrent to Egyptians.

How did it feel knowing your very existence was an offense to polite society? That you were considered lowest of the low, disgusting, and even revolting? We may be about to find out.

That could be a good thing. In the case of Israel, prejudice kept them separate and distinct from the surrounding culture. Jacob's family was already predisposed against intermarriage, but even if they'd chosen to assimilate, the Egyptians' disdain would have kept it from happening. 

The result? Somehow, the Hebrews found a way to thrive amid the contempt. Allowed to live apart in their own little corner of the country, they were able to increase in number and grow strong -- so much so that an eventual ruler would become severely alarmed. 

Success brought its own persecution. Oh that this would be the reason American Christians are ill-treated. 

May what was said of them be true of us: "The more [the Egyptians] afflicted them, the more [the people of God] multiplied and spread out." (Exodus 1:12)

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