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Missions 101

Living History

Nov. 15, 2012By: Michael Littell

The Story of Amsula*, the Man of God from Sudan (Part 4)

*Pseudonym due to the sensivity of his situation.

Amsula’s tribal roots stretch back to the Cushite kings who became the “black pharaohs” of Egypt’s 25th dynasty.[1] Their armies attempted to rescue King Hezekiah of Judah from the jaws of Assyria. Even farther back, Cush, the patriarch and namesake of the tribe, is noted in Genesis for fathering Nimrod who is described as “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” So great was he that “therefore,” we are told, “it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord’” (10:9).

The prophets make mention of Cush, though not often in positive ways. Several utterances stand out, though, in light of Amsula and Jesus Christ.

Zechariah’s first word to Cush is, “You Cushites, too, will be slain by my sword” (2:12). But his next and final word is decidedly different. In the aftermath of world judgment, the Lord says,

“I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings” (3:9–10).

Moreover, in Psalm 68 David ends by meditating on the coming salvation of the world and the praise of God. He says,

“Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.” (vv. 31–33)

Amsula stands in the line of “the mighty hunter,” the nation which has been “slain by the sword,” and whose people are now submitting themselves to God. He is the fulfillment of prophecy, and a man whose prayers are daily fulfilled. It is an odd thing to look at a man and realize that he is a living piece of the history you have only read about in books.

I am the middle-class American who came to teach; he is the refugee whose outstretched hand is filled by Yhwh of hosts. I get the seat of honor; he gets the brunt of ancient feuds. I burn with lack, and find comfort in hearty food and drink; he burns with wounds, and finds comfort in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. No doubt we will find ourselves in different roles someday.

As the sky faded gently over Athens that evening, the flickering office lights in the room hardly seemed like they could properly illuminate the face of Amsula.


[1] Draper, Robert. “The Black Pharaohs.” National Geographic, February 2008. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/black-pharaohs/robert-draper-text.

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