The Land of Cush

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Field Updates, South Sudan, Uganda | 0 comments

The Land of Cush
South Sudan landscape photo

Countryside in South Sudan – Photo by sidelife

On Sunday as the sun set, worship floated up to heaven from the lips of South Sudanese believers. What a miracle for them all to gather in one field, with one purpose, petitioning one God and Lord of all! The moments that have led to this begin back in the Bible times. From the very start, God has had a call on the lives of these people.

South Sudan is a land of rich history. It is vast and mysterious containing among other wonders pyramids greater in number than Egypt and massive tracts of unexplored swampland. It is rich in oil, gold, and other precious metals. And its people are one of its richest treasures.

The South Sudanese people have been pharaoh’s – like King Tirhakah the Cushite (Sudanese) Pharaoh, whose advancing army drew Sennacherib away from the besieged Hezekiah in Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:9) – and they have been slaves – like Ebed-Mekel, the Sudanese eunuch who rescued Jeremiah from slow starvation in a well. (Jer. 38)

King Tirhakah photo

Cushite (Sudanese) Pyramids – Photo by Retlaw Snellac Photography

Though their pharaonic Kingdom spanned from the land of Cush to the Mediterranean Sea, the reign of these Cushite Pharaoh’s lasted only 75 years. Their history of enslavement is a much longer story. The region of South Sudan was populated for the greater part of history by loose nomadic tribes who kept herds and flocks. Their people, while agrarian, were and are today tall, intelligent, and fiercely strong. These traits made them ideal slaves and targets of African, Arabian, and European slavers.

Although Christianity came to Cush through Philip’s encounter with the eunuch of Queen Candace’s court and even ruled as the governing religion from 543-1315AD, slavery continued to plague the nation as slaves were the required tribute to keep powerful Muslim neighbors to the north at bay. In the end, even this arrangement failed and today thousands are abducted from South Sudan and sold as slaves in Khartoum.

This history of South Sudanese bondage is not purely physical – it is also deeply spiritual. Bonds of violence, bloodshed, witchcraft, and Islam have kept the people in years of darkness even in spite of the successful vote for freedom in 2011.

South Sudan Cattle photo

Cattle Herding in South Sudan – Photo by dayblakelydonaldson

But today God is doing a new thing among the people South Sudan! In Isaiah 18, we see His word concerning the Cushite people:

Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush, which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water.

Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned,  to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.

All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape,  he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.

At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty

from a people tall and smooth-skinned,  from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers—

the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of sadness and destruction – which has been experienced deeply – but he also speaks of the return of the Lord’s favor as indicated by Him turning his face to “look on” the Cushites once more as they bring their gifts to Him, the Lord Almighty.  This word is beginning to be fulfilled as gifts of prayer, repentance, and worship were raised to the Lord Almighty this Sunday! As praises rose that night, we witnessed chains begin to break off of those gathered.

People worship under a pavilion at the Cultural Centre in Juba

People worship under a pavilion at the Cultural Centre in Juba

The event itself was a miracle, as we saw government leaders welcome the idea with passion and agree that this was God at work! They said, “This had never been done in the nation, and it has brought a new unity among Churches.” For the first time, all church denominations and many political leaders gathered together in one place with one objective: to seek God’s hand for repentance, revival, and restoration in their land!!! And as the people sought – God answered!

God daily worked amazing miracles and “turning things upside down.” People were saved, healed, and delivered from darkness into the the light and hope of the Gospel!

Crying out to God

Crying out to God

As they watched the people of South Sudan pray, the team was keenly reminded of their own prayer gathering in Gulu, northern Uganda back in 2005. At that time, their own land had been covered in the darkness of terror and war with the Lord’s Resistance Army which had brought slaughter and devastation to the entire region. Yet as they gather in Pece Stadium in Gulu, Uganda  strongholds and altars of bloodshed and darkness were broken, new altars of worship were erected, church pastors and leaders were mobilized, and an immediate, felt peace settled on the land.

Today, they are praising God for 10 years of peace in northern Uganda and for the way He has begun to replicate this work in the nation of South Sudan! What He has begun He will bring to completion, as we continue to press into Him for the fulfillment of His word and for “such a time as this!”

Thank you for supporting us and your South Sudanese brothers and sisters in their pursuit of true freedom – the peace of God!

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