ColumnsECCLESIASTICAL VOICE

COVID-19: World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration on Africa and God’s agenda for the Continent

By Revd. Idowu Ibitoye
Introduction
Africa is the second largest continent and second most populous continent, after Asia, covering about one-fifth of the total land surface of the Earth. According to Wikipedia, Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources; Nigeria is the fourth largest oil producer and exporter in the world. Africa is blessed with both human and material resources. The recent pronouncement by World Health Organization (WHO) that Africa should prepare for the worst outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, call for serious concern and reappraisal of God’s timeless intervention for Africa. This write-up x-rays the love God has displayed for Africa mostly during Bible times, which is still relevant for contemporary Africans.
God’s love for Africa
1. Abraham dwelt and became rich in Africa: Abraham was the great patriarch and hero of Christian faith, he dwelled in the land of Africa, precisely in Egypt, “Now there was a famine in the land and Abraham went to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was sever” Gen. 12: 10. The Bible recorded that before Abraham left Egypt he was rich, “so Abram went from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, …Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” Gen. 13:1-2. The journey of Abraham in Africa resulted into blessings, Africa is a prosperous land.
2. Joseph became great in Africa: Joseph was sold to slavery by his kinsmen and was later transported to Egypt where he found himself in Potiphar’s house; there was conspiracy against him by the madam of the house and that landed him in prison. The gift of dream interpretation took him to the palace, he interpreted king Pharaoh’s dream and give wise counsel as regard the steps that needed to be urgently taken. Pharaoh himself declared concerning Joseph, “…since God has made all this known to you, there is no one discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace and all my people are to submit to your orders, only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you” Gen. 41:39-40. Some Bible scholars equated this elevation to the positions of the Prime Minister or Minister of Agricultural resources. In other words, Joseph became great and offered solutions to the pandemic that ravaged his world on African soil.
3. Moses the Prophet and Law maker was born in Africa: Beside Jesus, Moses is another great hero of the Bible who moved and walked with God. The Bible recorded that Moses communicated with God, “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend…” Ex. 33:11. Moses was born and raised in Africa, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” Acts 7:22. This simply means Africa is endowed with the best education that can make anybody great. The contribution of Africa to the life of Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible cannot be overemphasized.
4. The 12 children of Jacob moved to Egypt and became numerous: The 12 children of Jacob that moved to Egypt were70, “the descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all…” Ex. 1:5. They became numerous while on African soil, “… The Israelites have become over too numerous for us… but the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread…” Ex. 1: 9, 12. Infact the Jews became a nation before they left Egypt because their population attested to that, “…there were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” 12:27.
5. In Africa God saved the Israelites from the plague that struck the Earth: The plague of famine struck the entire world, the news that food was available in Egypt came to Jacob, he sent his children to get food for the entire family and later Jacob and all his children moved to Egypt, this means that in Africa God saved and preserved the entire Jews (Gen. 42:1-2; 46:6).
6. Israel accumulated of Gold, silver and cloth for building God’s temple: When the children of Israelites were leaving Egypt, the Egyptians gave them, “…articles of silver, gold and clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people and they gave them what they asked for…” Ex. 12:35-36. Some of these materials were later donated as materials for the construction of the tabernacle, (Ex. 35:4-9). Africa is a land of gold and other valuable mineral resources, the blessings of God upon Africa is evident till date.
7. Moses married an African wife: Moses married a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman. He could do this because he had lived among Africans in the first 40 years of his life, meaning that he understood the manner and customs of Africa. He was opposed by his kinsmen, for marrying an African woman, this made God to vindicate him (Num. 12:1-9). This is a lesson for the African ladies that craves to change their origin just because they want to marry white men. African ladies should be proud of their heritage.
8. Queen of Sheba was from Africa: The queen of Sheba was from North Africa, she came to Jerusalem to visit Solomon in order to gain from his God given wisdom. When she was coming she came with a lot of African precious materials, “arriving at Jerusalem with a very great Caravan with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold and precious stones…” I Kings. 10:2. Africa is richly blessed with treasures.
9. Baby Jesus took refuge in Africa: The birth of Jesus as savior of the world caught king Herod unawares, he planned to kill Jesus. However, through a divine directive, Jesus’ parent were instructed “…angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, get up, he said take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” Matt. 2:13. Indeed Africa is a land of safety and refuge, God will surely secure His own from COVID-19 pandemic. At the end, both old and young shall come out victorious.
10. Simon of Cyrene rendered a helping hand to Jesus: On the road to Golgotha, Jesus was tired and unable to carry the heavy wooden cross for his execution, “as they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon and they forced him to carry the cross” Matt.27:32. Jesus was crucified by His kinsmen but a stranger from Africa assisted Him when He was famished and exhausted. Through this act of assistance rendered by Simon, Africa contributed her quota to the salvation of mankind. At this critical period of COVID-19, God will save Africa from evil predictions.
11. Africans were present on the day of Pentecost: Pentecost was held 50 days after Passover. Pentecost was also called the festival of first harvest, it was one of the three major annual festivals (Deut. 16:16), it was a festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops. Jesus was crucified at Passover time and he ascended 40 days after the resurrection. The Holy Spirit came down 50 days after resurrection, that is 10 days after the ascension. Jews and many other nationals gathered in Jerusalem for this festival, it was an international gathering, the nations that were present include; “… Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene…” Acts. 2:10-11.
12. Join this chariot: A high ranking officer from Ethiopia was going to Jerusalem, on his journey he was reading some scriptural passages. The spirit of the Lord instructed Philip to join the chariot, he ministered to him (Ethiopian Eunuch) and he accepted Christ and he was baptized immediately (Acts. 8:26:38). This is another record on how gospel came to Africa during the early church era.

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