Refugees, Migration, and Escape vis-a-vis the Gospel of Jesus Christ

“You will be made to care,” quipped a commentator on a nearby radio. He is right. Thousands of Muslim refugees have fled, are fleeing, and will continue to flee Muslim terror. Families in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and northern Africa are streaming into Europe as refugees. Images of people scaling fences, fighting to get onto Hungarian railroad cars, egressing from boats, etc. bombard our papers, magazines, TVs, and websites. Europe is being overrun. And Canada and the U.S. will be, too. They are coming, and we will be made to care.

But we should care already. First of all, had Muslim terrorism been squashed rather than placated, this would’ve been prevented. But current leadership in America and Europe is lacking. Over recent years, we’ve seen a capitulation to Muslim terror. As a reminder to those who pretend we can “coexist” peacefully, we don’t see Christians putting YouTube videos up wherein non-Christians are dressed in orange jumpsuits and decapitated. We don’t see Christians burning mosques to the ground. We don’t see Christian training camps arming children with assault weapons and indoctrinating them to destroy Israel and inculcate a violent caliphate. Boko Haram slaughters people in the streets in Nigeria, and the murders are caught on video and broadcast over the world, yet we wonder why we cannot coexist peacefully? Is it any wonder that families are fleeing these nations?

I don’t begrudge these fleeing families. I grieve for them. But what can the nations being flooded with Muslim refugees do? Those nations will be made to care. This nation will be made to care.

We are living in a time of platitudes. Sentimental statements like, “We need to have a discussion about this” fall flat. Bumper stickers touting coexistence among worldviews are laughable. We don’t need platitudes and sentimentality. We need courageous leadership. Rather than lauding the Chamberlains of the world, we need another Churchill.

More than political figures, however, the world needs redeeming. This is, therefore, theological. Why are these people refugees?

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Because they are fleeing Islamic terror? Yes. Are they fleeing to places where they are free to worship as their consciences dictate? They certainly hope so.

Look at the pattern: Terror and persecution are currently driving people away from their homelands. Consider these examples from history. In Scripture, in the 1st century A.D. it’s recorded how Herod had boys two years old and under murdered. Why? Because the terrorizing Herod wanted to eliminate the promised Messiah (Jesus). But Joseph had been warned by an angel of the Lord to “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him” (Mt 2:13b ESV).

Persecution served to both harden those who refused God’s offer and to scatter others in order that God’s promises might be fulfilled. Moses, centuries earlier, had returned to Egypt from Midian (present day Saudi Arabia) in order that God’s plan for the nations continue. Moses and the Israelites were both persecuted and scattered—but all in order that God’s promises might be fulfilled. God was calling a people to Himself and allowing others to be hardened in their rejection of Him and the One He sent.

Does the “refugee crisis” take God by surprise? No. God, after all, is sovereign: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him” (Acts 17:26-27a, ESV).

The gospel did not fail due to terrorism by Egyptian pharaohs over Moses in the 1400s B.C. with ancient Israel. The gospel did not fail due to Herod’s terrorism in the 1st c. with the incarnation of the messiah Jesus. The gospel will not fail if these refugees put their hope and faith in the One who redeems exiles. The gospel grafts strangers in. The gospel will not fail because God does not lie. May God use the cowardice of men to exalt the Redeemer who brings in refugees and exiles. We have more in common with those refugees and exiles seeking rest than we may understand. God has brought good out of evil many times in order that exiles from Eden might be redeemed.

 

 

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