Devotional Thought for This Morning
I Corinthians 1:27-9
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.
Ironically, the Civil Rights Movement, led by Baptist minister Martin Luther King, wasn’t the most popular movement then, even among African Americans. That honor was shared by the militant Black Panther Party that launched violence against the white power structure, and the Nation of Islam that aimed, not for racial desegregation, but a complete separation from whites. Its leader Malcolm X even called King a “‘chump’ and other civil rights leaders ‘stooges’ of the white establishment.’”
Yet, it was the Civil Rights Movement that radically altered America (no King in the 1960s then no Obama in the 2000s), and every racial and ethnic minority should be grateful to those who sacrificially fought for racial equality. Now, it is easy to recognize why this movement was so successful and why it beat out its stiff competition.
Undoubtedly, King, a man of extraordinary faith and courage, attained his vision from God: “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last”—but he also had his demons. It is now a matter of public record that King wasn’t always faithful to his wife, and Boston University had considered (Time, Nov. 1990) but ultimately decided not to revoke King’s doctorate degree, despite finding that parts of his dissertation were plagiarized. Nevertheless, I agree with Time article’s conclusion: “Even though the revelation may tarnish King’s reputation, they hardly diminish his courageous and inspirational accomplishments in helping to achieve racial justice for millions of black American.”
But, would God agree with this? Yes, because He uses people in spite of them, not because of them, so that we place our faith on God, not men. Look no further than King David, erstwhile adulterer and murderer, for proof. And it was the sight of mostly God-fearing Civil Rights marchers (e.g., Rosa Parks) who responded to violence “like a sheep before her shearers . . . silent” (Is. 53:7) that moved the crusty hearts of white Americans.
Do you feel like God can neither love nor use you because you have been behaving badly? Don’t be ridiculous—but do repent! And remember a God who used King in spite of him can do the same for you, to bring about spiritual freedom to those who still do not know Christ.
Prayer: Father, You are the Creator of all ethnic and racial groups. Before You, everyone has fallen short of your glory. It was for us that You sent your Son to do what no human government can do: Forgive our sins and make us righteous before You. God, may what I do with my life align with Your heart for the nations. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Leviticus 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Exodus 5:1: Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
John 8:32-6: Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”33 [The Jews] answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Col. 3:10-1: . . . put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Question to Consider
1. Martin Luther King was inspired by Moses who boldly demanded freedom from Pharaoh. What kind of freedom was this?
2. While the freedom that Moses sought after was important and certainly was part of God’s will, Jesus expanded that freedom during his ministry to another, more important freedom. What was Christ offering?
3. So, ultimately, what should be the basis for what Rev. King desired: “A nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”?
1. The freedom that Moses sought after was political and social freedom.
2. The freedom that Christ offered then and continue to offer today is spiritual freedom, that is, being liberated from Satan’s rule, thanks to Christ who destroyed “the devil’s work” (1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 2:14-5).
3. The basis is the “Oneness in Christ” which ought to resolve all our racial and class differences since Christ’s atonement resolved our spiritual difference with God. If this truly is the case, then we should reject any racism and ethnocentrism.
Let’s spend this moment praying for a true racial reconciliation to occur in America. Pray for a revival to break out among the men in blue across the nation. Pray for the leaders of African American community, that they may seek God’s wisdom and heart even as they cry out for justice and fairness.