Good News in Ethiopia

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In the Old Testament, God warned the Israelites again and again about copying the practices of the ungodly nations who lived around them. Here is one very descriptive example:

Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you,
O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord,
“Do not learn the way of the nations,
And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens
Although the nations are terrified by them;
For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot walk!
Do not fear them,
For they can do no harm,
Nor can they do any good.”
Jeremiah 10:1-5

Again and again, the Israelites failed to listen and obey.

The warning not to follow the customs of the people around us is a powerful theme in the New Testament, too.

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed . . .
Romans 12:2a

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he praises them because they “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.” Over the weekend, I read a beautiful story in a newspaper that reports news about Christians in America and around the world. The story told of a modern-day group of people in the northern African country of Ethiopia who had done the exact same thing that the Thessalonians had done. Accompanying the story was a photo of several people standing behind a big bonfire. These people had heard the gospel, become Christians, and were now burning their wooden idols, which they had formerly coated with oil and butter before bowing down to them.

Isn’t that wonderful!

Acts 8:26-40 tells of another Ethiopian becoming a Christian. That Bible narrative was a popular subject for artists in the northern Netherlands in the 1600s. Hendrick Hondius created this pen and ink drawing of A River Landscape with the Baptism of the Eunuch during that time. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Thank you for all you do to help your children to be transformed and not conformed to this world. As we read in the passage from Romans above:

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed . . .
Romans 12:2a

 

 

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