Our first week of our new series, “Amazing Race— Persecuted Church Edition, was a blast!
Each week, we will look at a different country where Christians face extreme persecution. We will also have team activities where teams will have to complete challenges native to the region we are learning about for that night.
This week’s featured country was North Korea. North Korea is actually #1 on the list of countries. With a population of 25,405,000 people, only 300,000 of those are Christians. That is just over 1% of the population. Christians in North Korea often have to pray with their eyes open because of the constant surveillance they face. Those who don’t comply to worship the Kim Family face anything from arrests, imprisonment, torture, and even being killed.
Tonight’s Scripture was Psalm 119:9-11NIV,
9-11 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
The writer of this Psalm shows us how to stay on the path God has laid out for us— by living according to God’s word and seeking God with all our heart. Before we can truly begin to know God’s word, we have to spend time in it.
When you look at verse eleven, which was the main verse we focused on, it can seem a little contradictory since we always tell out students to not be ashamed of their faith. The word “hide” in Hebrew means to hoard, protect, or hide. The word hoard means— a supply or fund stored up and often hidden away. This verse encourages us to store up God’s word that we read, that he speaks to us, and the lessons we learn from it. The more of God’s word we have “hoarded” and stored up in our lives, the more we have to help us through the temptations that threaten to pull us off of God’s path of purity for our lives.
Try to imagine what living out this verse looks like to the Christians living in North Korea. They can be arrested for having their Bibles or praying in public. It would be a lot easier to just conform to what the majority is doing and worship the Kim Family. Christians living in North Korea have to make the most of the time they are able to spend in God’s word. They treasure Scripture. Because they have hidden God’s word in their hearts, they are able to take God’s word with them wherever they go!