Egypt! Where were the watchmen?

If there is a lesson to learn from the uprising in Egypt it is how suddenly the events unfolded.  Intelligence agencies in Egypt and abroad did not anticipate them. Even the ‘prophet Joshua’ could not see it coming. Peace, peace everywhere and it happened!  Experts who are analyzing possible causes have cited the widening income gap between the super-privileged and the super-underprivileged as a contributing factor. From the comfort of their fortified homes and hotel rooms the privileged ruling class failed to see the warning signs or chose to believe that the growing economy would relieve the tension that was building in masses.

The events in Egypt call for nations, especially in Africa, to pursue economic development that contributes to human development. When economic development does not contribute to human development, and does not meet the aspirations of the majority of a nation, the conditions are ripe for what is taking place in Egypt.

No less than Egypt, churches that are developing numerically and financially are likely to become inward focused to the neglect of those in need. Therefore, they need to proactively reach out to communities where poverty and injustice are rampant. In the book of Exodus Moses gives us a powerful example of what the church should do when the authorities become blind to the widening gap between the rich and powerful and the masses. God told Moses of His preference for the downtrodden who are abused by the powerful and He commanded Moses to speak out for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Moses obliged, and had Pharaoh not hardened his heart, many lives would have been saved.

God’s zeal for justice includes rescuing the socially weak from their oppressors and He demands the same from those who love Him and are called Christians (Matt. 25:35-40). When Christians do not engage the systems that are abusive to the poor and the powerless there is a time when the poor cannot take anymore. What follows is what Hosea calls ‘bloodshed follows bloodshed.’

Sub-Saharan Africa is largely Christian, and as such ought to be passionately concerned for the weak and the vulnerable. Just like Jesus, Christians in this region must “not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth” until, “In His law the islands will put their hope” (Isaiah 42:4). May the church be the watchman at the doors of our city? Ezekiel 3:17 says,” Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” Are you hearing His warning to those who abuse the weak and the vulnerable?  Are you warning them?

Lawrence Temfwe