“The Long History of God’s Love for Africa.” April 07, 2022: www.desiringgod.org
Last month I had the chance to share a message in Ethiopia that has been on my heart for some time. So many in the country feel that Africa is cursed in ways greater than elsewhere. The thoughts of many echo the words of Jason from Kampala (the capital of Uganda), who asked Pastor John Piper a pointed question regarding why Africans have suffered so much. He wrote:
Does God care for Africans? Providence has a long track record here. Throughout history we have been a beastly, deplorable, enslaveable race — constantly riddled with disease, famine, and suffering. How are we not to conclude that we are God’s least favorite race? Every day is pure struggle for most Ugandans. I know God promises to look after all people, but it still makes me wonder, why does he especially seem to hate Africa so much?
Since I first heard those words, I had longed to give voice more directly and explicitly to Scripture’s truths regarding God’s heart for all nations, including those from Africa.
In this study I show how the Scriptures reveal God’s deep love for Africa and how it is central to his kingdom purposes. My own journey of discovery began when I, as an Old Testament professor, started studying the book of Zephaniah, who was likely a biracial prophet having a mixed heritage that was both black African and royal Judean. My journey has taken me from Genesis to Revelation, and I hope this brief survey will help Jason in Kampala and others to recognize God’s love for Africa and to hope in God’s steadfast love toward all who are in Christ, whether from Africa or beyond.