The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing ... I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes," says the LORD. Zephaniah 3:17, 19b-20
Do you know what is the 24th most-populated nation on earth?
Of course, you don't. If I had asked what is number one or number two, most would get it right (China and India). Far fewer would get number three (which happens to be the U.S. of A.) But I doubt if anyone would get number 24 ... especially since this is a trick question.
The trick of the question is this: the nation I am talking about has no geographic border. Indeed, this nation has no property at all. That clue may have told you I am referring to the 60-million refugees of the world. That's correct. In 2014 more than 60 million people were displaced, were running from a threat, or were seeking asylum.
Mathematicians tell me that one out of every 122 people in the world is on the run. And it gets worse.
More than half of those 60 million are children.
Now I've just thrown a lot of information at you. I'd like you to take a few moments to let those figures sink in.
Ready to continue? Those overwhelming numbers tell us that even though we North Americans complain about the state of our governments and the deplorable condition of the nation, we still have it pretty good. Yes, we have homeless people, but most of these homeless still have potential and possibilities. Most are not continuously afraid for their lives, and most are not being hunted by a sworn enemy.
The question is why? Why are we so blessed?
Is it because we are hard-working, good-looking, always honest, have a better political system, better laws, or more natural resources than anyone else? No, it's not that.
The answer, I believe, is found in the first eight words of our text above: "The Lord your God is in your midst." The revisers of history would have you believe otherwise, but the truth is the Triune God has always been very much a part of our nation's creation and ongoing history.
Because that was so, all the other promises made in the Zephaniah verse are applicable to us.
Our nation was populated by people who were outcast, and our history shows how God has dealt with our oppressors. He has raised us up so we might give thanks for His blessings, and those who are Christians might proclaim the love of the Savior, whose passion and victorious resurrection has given us an eternal home -- as well as this present land we should love.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray for all who, this day, have no home. Grant that peace may reign in this world and in human hearts. Accept my praise for all You have done and let this nation acknowledge You who are the Giver of all good and perfect gifts. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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