Daily Topic for September 16, 2009
God’s promise to Abraham that his name would be known throughout the world has a profound meaning. Just one chapter before, the great men of the world had gathered to build a city in order to make a name for themselves. By contrast, God tells Abraham not to worry about his legacy: I’ll take care of your reputation. I am your hope, and your great reward. Today, there are over 3.5 billion people (Christians, Muslims and Jews) who know the name of Abraham and consider him to be very important. He was simply a sheepherder! What made him different was that he answered God’s call to be a blessing to all peoples.
Pray that some of the “untouchable” Chandalas will soon understand that they too can participate in the blessing given to the humble sheepherder, Abraham. Pray that they will soon bear Christ’s Name.
The concept of a name bears a lot of weight in Scripture. God chooses to reveal Himself to different people with different names that have a unique meaning to that person or people group. A prominent feature of the Old Testament is God encountering people and giving them a new name, meaning their character was forever changed as a result of the confrontation. In the New Testament we read of those who overcome being given a new name, which only God knows (Revelation 3:12). Names have significance, for good or for bad.
In India, the name Chandala is a derogatory expletive used to describe the untouchable Dalit communities in the Indo-Aryan speaking regions. Imagine what these people must feel like to know that their very name is used as a curse word! Upon arriving in different nations, it is not uncommon for people to change their name to a more user-friendly version according to the traditions of their new country. Yet some Chandalas have changed their name when they go to neighboring Bangladesh to escape the negative effects of the word. Life is hard for most people of lower castes in India, but the Chandalas bear their reproach everywhere they go. (To find out more, see: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_caste.asp)Learn more at joshuaproject.net
Pray for this group of so-called untouchables in India, where even their shadow is said to defile someone. Much like the lepers we read of in the Gospels, Jesus wants to touch the “untouchables” who have lived on the outskirts of society. Pray that they may come to know and identify with Jesus Christ, the One who Himself was “despised and rejected by men…one from whom men hide their faces” (Isa. 53:3, NIV).-MB