The African Diaspora (Part 1): A Brief History and Lessons

Immigrant lessons from Joseph, Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah

We live in a world where emigration is an option for many people. For some, persecution or famine in their own country causes them to flee their homeland. Many of us know people who have felt forced to emigrate. For others, the promise of a better life for their family is hard to resist. Still others move to another country for an education or a job opportunity and never return to their homeland. Many of us emigrate to Europe or America, but the African diaspora is worldwide. For instance, a large African community lives in Guangzhou, China.

Diaspora means the dispersion of people from their original homeland. There were two examples of a diaspora in the Old Testament—the voluntary immigration of the Israelites into Egypt and the forced immigration of the Jews to Assyria and Babylon.

The people of Africa have been dispersed throughout the world perhaps more than the people of any other continent.

Thirteen hundred years ago, Arabs took Africans from their homelands in East Africa to the Middle East to be slaves. Three hundred years ago, Europeans took Africans from West Africa to Europe and the Americas for the same purpose. Today, many Africans emigrate voluntarily. Do Africans living in other countries have to renounce their faith, their origins, or their culture? How can they have a positive influence on their new country? What are their responsibilities to their home country?

We can learn from stories in the Bible about those who have emigrated from their homeland. Most of these stories involved forced immigration (although Jacob immigrated to Egypt voluntarily), but they still show us how believers should or should not act in a new land.

Learning from Joseph

Sold to Ishmaelite traders by his jealous and bitter brothers, …

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