A few days ago, we witnessed another atrocity as Coptic Christians were brutally attacked by Islamic jihadists. The calamity reminds us that the story of violence and terror continues.
President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi named a 22-year-old, Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, as the alleged perpetrator of the suicide attack. He said other people, including one woman, had been arrested over their alleged involvement. As mourners crowded into the Virgin Mary and St Athanasius church in Cairo on Monday, the Coptic pope, Tawadros II, attempted to focus on the unity of Egypt’s grief, denouncing the blast as “not just a disaster for the church but a disaster for the whole nation”.
How long will terror rule that corner of the world? There really is no end in sight. As the Coptic Christians cry out for justice, so did the men of Gibeon in Joshua 10:6-14. The people of Gibeon, first known for their attempts to deceive Joshua and the people of Israel, were suffering under the brutality of the Amorites. Despite the deception, Joshua and the men of Israel kept their commitment and the Lord fought for them. He confused the enemy and they turned their swords against each other.
The same God who caused the sun to stand still, hail to reign down on the Amorites, and bring weariness to the enemies of God, is the same God who will fight for us. He’s a God of justice and righteousness who helps the helpless. Jehovah is seeking people who will also keep their commitments and choose faithfulness. When we align ourselves with God, we are choosing to be a part of a larger battle than our own self-interests. We see the world, in all its injustice, cruelty and tyranny as a battle worthy of our engagement.
A great question for your class to consider as you discuss Joshua 10, might be: “Who are “the people of Gibeon” in your world?” In other words, who are the rejected, disenfranchised, seemingly insignificant people you have been called to serve? Here’s another question: Are you willing to help those who don’t deserve your help? Often we rationalize our inaction on the basis of past history or personal responsibility in their history. When you serve people in crisis, you often find that they had some role in their own demise. But just as Jesus reached out to the tax collectors and prostitutes, we should never judge the people we are trying to save.
If we really seek God and ask Him to reveal His specific mission for us, I believe that He won’t disappoint you. He’s eager to hand out some missions! No doubt, He’ll reveal the needs and call us all to action. Everyone’s call or challenge is different. For some, it might be the homeless shelter downtown. For some, it might be an after-school program or a spring break mission trip. For others it might be a quest that leads them into the rubble of a bombed out cathedral in Egypt.