The Afghan Church: He is There

August 17, 2021

"[T]he name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord is There.” (Ezekiel 48:35b)

Jehovah Shammah is a symbolic name for Jerusalem used in Ezekiel 48:35b, following a description of the city according to its 12 gates, each devoted to one of the tribes of Israel. Jehovah means "The Existing One" and indicates that God unceasingly makes Himself known. Shammah is Hebrew for "there". This striking conclusion to Ezekiel's prophetic book must have been a powerful encouragement to the nation of Israel!

The conclusion of Matthew's gospel held a similar promise to the  church:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jesus promised His disciples (and us) that God's presence would be with His people by His Spirit (John 14:16-18, 26) and confirmed His promise with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Feast of Shavuot (or "Tabernacles"), symbolic of His desire to dwell among His people. John's vision of the New Jerusalem reveals the fulfilment of God's original intention to dwell with people, whom He created in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27, 3:8-9).

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21:3).

The Taliban takeover of the government of Afghanistan this past weekend has created immediate, life-threatening danger to many - we will focus here on Christians, most of whom are converts from Islam and some of whom are missionaries. A text message from Afghanistan on Sunday read, "Please ask our Western Church family not forget your little brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, Under Taliban our future not long in life. But under Jesus, they can't kill that part of us. Please ask not forget little Jesus here?" (The missionary who received this text explains that the sender uses "little" to mean young in years of faith. He adds that in faith, they are actually giants.) 

Let’s declare together, "The Lord is there!", dwelling among the church in Afghanistan. Amidst their fiery trial, He is their rock of refuge, their hiding place, their mighty deliverer. He sees them. He hears their cries and their silent prayers. He leads them in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake and sets a table before them in the presence of their enemies. He proves His love for them by anointing them to minister at His altar in this hour. Let this declaration bring powerful encouragement to the many tribes that make up the Afghan Church. Amen.

Jesus Network has prepared in advance for this eventuality by setting up a committee and a separate charity to help Afghan Christians come to Canada. Find out how to support this work here. There is a vibrant Afghan Church in Canada. To read the testimonies of two of its dynamic leaders, go to the Jesus Network website here.

Appeal to Almighty God on behalf of His very precious Afghan Church:

  • that threats to their lives would be diverted and defeated
  • for God to provide for their every need - food, shelter, finances, visas, escape routes, keeping families together, protection of women, etc.
  • for hope and direction as they despair of what to do
  • financial help

Ask the Lord of the Harvest to support the Afghan Church in Canada:

  • for Obed as he leads the Church, communicates with Afghans, raises awareness and fundraises
  • for comfort and guidance concerning how to support family members remaining in Afghanistan
  • for many supporters to encourage, pray for, financially bless and otherwise support Afghan believers

On August 13, the Government of Canada announced they will "resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans threatened by the Taliban and forced to flee Afghanistan". When Canada received refugees from Syria, the government sponsored only UN documented refugees from UN camps, which de facto excluded Christians, who had to avoid the Muslim-dominated UN camps because of rampant persecution. So the Church stepped up to sponsor Christian refugees. We can do the same now, and we can also let our government know that Afghan Christians are both vulnerable and of exceedingly great value to us.

Pray for vulnerable Afghan refugees to be settled in Canada:

  • that our government would not discriminate against Christians
  • for red tape to be minimized and vigilance against infiltration by radicals to be maximized
  • for the Holy Spirit to bring order and timeliness to the logistics of such a difficult undertaking
  • for the Canadian Church to prepare for a harvest among Afghan refugees

About Leslie

Leslie knows by faith and experience that our heavenly Father puts His prayers in our hearts and then listens to our hearts’ cry as we pray them back to Him. We hear God, and God hears us.

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No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.

Nelson Mandela

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. And your neighbor as yourself.