Summary: This sermon was preached on Black History Sunday and it highlights people of color in the bible and challenges the stereotypes we have of Africans as people and of African history.
Thinking Clearly About Our African Spiritual Heritage
As we go through our sermon series on thinking clearly, one of the ones that got left out was thinking clearly about our African Spiritual Heritage. We’ve decided to put this one in. Why do we need to think clearly here. It is because we read the bible without reading it and so much of what we accept may not necessarily be true. For centuries, African was considered a backward continent full of superstition and so dark that not even God could be found there. The truth is, Africa is a continent of many countries with some of the brightest minds the world has known. An even greater truth is that Africa is found throughout the pages and history of the Bible. God is involved in the history of Africa in the bible in both the Old and New Testament.
If you think there is not confusion about our African Spiritual Heritage, the next time you’re with a group of people ask them, did you know that the first high priest in Israel was an African. Ask them if they knew that all of Joseph’s children were Africans. Then shock them by saying did you know that Moses was an African. You can really get them upset by suggesting, when God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, all of them were the Africans.
Think about it, if you were born in Ga. And moved to Cleveland, how long would it be before you called yourself a Clevelander. Now if your people had lived in Cleveland for 430 years, and you were born in Cleveland and spent 40 years of your life in Cleveland, wouldn’t it be safe to say you were an Ohioan. Why, because Cleveland is in Ohio. Likewise if God called his people out of Egypt where they had been for 430 years, and Egypt is Africa, wouldn’t that have made God’s people Africans.
Our problem is not our logic, but our prejudice. We made Africa synonymous with Black, and we have problems thinking that God would have done something special with Blacks. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Egypt had black people, brown people and light colored people. All you have to do is look at the paintings they left behind. But we have been led to believe that all the people coming out of Egypt had white skin, with blue eyes, and blonde or brunettee hair color. That’s just not what the bible tells us.
When we think clearly about the picture before us in the Bible, we see that Africa played a role in the life of Abraham. It was in the life of Isaac. It was in the life of Jacob. All twelve sons of Jacob died in Africa along with Jacob himself. They did not have the kind of racial prejudice we see in the world today when we think of Africa. They saw Africa as a place where God miraculously provided for them whenever famine came into their land.
When we think clearly about our African Spiritual Heritage, it will often make us more grateful for those who have come before us. Nothing makes us more ungrateful than a short memory. Sometimes we specialize in choosing to forget the blessings others have been in our lives. We do not bother to say thank you, for if we do we admit that a debt is owed. We would rather be foolish enough to think, we earned everything we got. No, everybody here owes a debt to a past history. If we recognize our history, we will have a better understanding of who we are and how God is involved in our lives.
We do not have the luxury of being clouded in our thinking about our spiritual heritage. What do you see when you see our young men selling drugs on the streets, or our women walking as prostitutes at night ? You see, most of us look at people who are not saved as children of the devil, but if you look at history you discover they are actually children of God who have been led astray. Black people and people of color are in the Scriptures from the very beginning, and they have their roots in the God of the Bible.
You may recall, there was a flood during the time to Noah that wiped out everybody on the face of the earth. So all the people alive today, derive their history from Noah his wife, their three sons and their wives. Now the son from whom many people of color trace their lineage is Ham. His name means heat, hot, or brown in Hebrew. Ham himself had at least four sons. They were Canaan, Cush, Mizraim, and Put. One of his four sons, Canaan received a curse on him, because his father Ham had not shown the proper respect for his father Noah.