FROM THE PREACHER"S LENSES
|Saturday, July 28, 2018|
oday I want to recall a true story found in the Bible.
The country (State) of Judah was besieged by king Nebuchadnezzar's army and the king took his captives to his country in Babylonia, the present day Iraq. The besiege occurred three times; 605, 597 & 586 BC respectively.
They were however freed after 70years.
The captives that were still alive and their descendants returned in thousands to their ancestry home in Judah.
The book of Ezra has the full story while the books of Jeremiah, 2Chronicles 35& 36, Daniel, Lamentations, Ezekiel and several other books of the Old Testament recorded the incidents leading to their enslavement.
Unfortunately after they returned home it was as if one was running away from a snake and is met by a lion. The people became enslaved again; this time however to their own kinsmen. Their nobles and Political leaders made life difficult for them, just as it has been in Nigeria.
We were at the beginning under the yoke of the Colonial Masters after which the Military enslaved us. It is even now worse under Civilian rule. Citizens, except the cabal who have access to the treasury, have become poorer and many live sub-human life.
The civilians' leaders have turned us to beggars and worshippers of men in order to have little bread for our children. Citizens hail them in public or while in their presence but curse them at their back.
So, how did the predicament of Judah end?
The answer is found in the Book of Nehemiah chapter 5.
Nehemiah, who was yet to return home from the land of captivity, heard of the distress of those who had returned home.
He prayed to God and he got the favour of his slave Master in Persia and he returned to Jerusalem to become the governor in 444BC for 12 years that followed i.e till 432 BC, when he led and supervised the construction of the Jerusalem wall.
Today, we shall be looking at the method, which Nehemiah used, to end the suffering of His country and apply it to our situation.
So, today, I invite you all to join me in prayer to God to end our suffering in Nigeria as we pray the prayer of Nehemiah. So the topic of my sermon is "There was Once a Politician"
But meanwhile, I am going to request Dr. Deacon Kayode Samuel to commit this hour into the hands of God.
There was Once a Politician; The Man Nehemiah
The people of Judah were now in their home land but the rich ones, who brought their wealth from Babylon were profiteering on the poor people.
The poor people had to sell their children or mortgage their fields, vineyards and homes to these rich men in exchange for money to buy food. Some couldn't even do again because they had borrowed to the limit to pay their taxes. They therefore protested to Nehemiah as recorded in vs 5 of Chapter 5:
"We are their brothers, yet we must sell our children into slavery to get enough money to live. We have already sold some of our daughters and we are helpless to redeem them because we have also mortgaged our fields, too, to these men" (Neh. 5: 5).
Nehemiah as Governor, dealt decisively to end the suffering (hardship) of the common people who were being extorted by their rich ones.
Nehemiah was angry with these rich people. At a public trial, he shouted at them and called their practice by the appropriate name 'evil'. "What you are doing is very evil," he exclaimed. "Should you not walk in the fear of our God? He pleaded with them to stop the business of usury, restore the fields, vineyards, olive yards and homes to their poor owners immediately and drop any claims against them. Nehemiah invoked a curse of God upon any who refused, saying:
"May God destroy your homes and livelihood if you fail to keep this promise" (5:1-13).
I, with all the people who have joined me in this prayer, today, stand in the position of Nehemiah and say like him to our Politicians "What you are doing is very evil," "Should you not walk in the fear of our God?
Nehemiah invoked the curse of God upon any of them who refused to champion the cause of the poor citizens.
He said "May God destroy your homes and livelihood if you fail to keep this promise,"
And all the people shouted, "Amen," and praised the Lord. And the rich men did as they had promised.
In our own prayer however,
we shall not invoke a curse on our politicians. We only pray that they repent and put an end to their life of profligacy, selfishness, uncared attitude for the nation to catch up with the rest of the world and allow the plight of the common man to be their great concern so that they will not go to hell.
Let us look at the stewardship of Nehemiah, the governor, to his people:
It is worth it, to note that in all the 12 years, when he was Governor (444 - 432 BC) when he worked prayerfully, relentlessly and selflessly to end the hardship of his people, he received no salary because according to him,
"The bondage was heavy upon this people" (KJV) or in the LB "They were already having a difficult time" (Neh 5:18).
Let us read the account of the stewardship of Nehemiah in his own words in vs 14-18; Nehemiah 5
"I would like to mention that for the entire 12 years that I was governor of Judah, my aids and I accepted no salaries or other assistance from the people of Israel.
All this despite the fact that I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides visitors from other countries! The provisions required for each day were one ox, 6 fat sheep and a large number of domestic fowls; and we needed a huge supply of all kinds of wines every ten days. Yet I refused to make a special levy against the people, for they were already having a difficult time" (Neh. 5: 14-18). i.e Nehemiah imposed no tax, nor VAT nor increased the price of gasoline all the years he was governor.
Oh that God will send to us in this country, thousands who have the kind mind like that of Nehemiah.
That was a Politician, He possessed the true sign of a responsible politician and he displayed it.
Nehemiah was a true politician who understood it, when his people were facing difficult times and he made all the sacrifices; did all that were necessary to make his citizens comfortable.
Compare Nehemiah with our politicians in Nigeria, who are greedy and care less about the plight of the citizens. Any care of the common man they pronounce is only on the lips.
The World Bank says that our leaders constitute just 1% of the population, yet they alone consume 80% of the wealth of the nation. What a greed and insensitivity to the welfare of their citizens! Yet these are the ones who have become what they are today under some responsible governments.
I pray they repent of their selfishness or else they are on their way to hell.
There are still some groups of people who must repent, if they do not want to go to hell. They are the people who also have benefitted, when the government was responsible, when the government was honest and dedicated to the nation. They are not necessarily in politics but by their actions, after they occupied high positions, rather than do things that will allow continuity of wealth distribution to all citizens, they collapsed the bridge, which they crossed to get to their high positions and destroyed the ladder, which they climbed up.
There are also those who have enjoyed it, when the government was responsible, they were not chanced to occupy any sensitive position, whereby they could have hands in the destruction of the government but are folding their hands, doing nothing with the situation on the ground; watching how the resources, which could be used for continuity of good governance is being carted into private pockets of unscrupulous people in government. Their sin is that they do not join any of the movements, which are seeking for solutions to our problems.
I am talking about the people who had scholarship for their University education, who ate three course meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner as students.
I am talking about Nigerians who had their clothes laundered when they were undergraduates, who had vacation jobs during summer vacations, who had two or more jobs waiting for them before they completed their final year University examinations and got car loans soon as they resumed job.
I am talking about Nigerians who when they studied Nursing, Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, rather than paying school fees, they got salary etc
I pray today that God will not give any of you these people rest of mind until you gather yourselves and join a movement to do the repairs of all that have been damaged in the country and restore the government back to her original responsible status.
By the grace of God, this Mission and our partner, The Inter Religious Organization for the Rehabilitation of Nigeria through Righteousness has scheduled a Town Hall meeting to take place in Ilorin on Saturday August 11 2018. It will take place inside Olufunmilayo Hall, Circular Hotel at 1000am
We need to chat the course of this nation.
Enough of hunger and thirst in a nation that God has endowed with plenty.
An adage says that for evil to continue to reign, all it requires is for good people to fold their hands and do nothing.
It is yourself you are doing to accept the pitiful situation, which you are in at moment, it is not God's wish for you. So, get that one understood.
God will not descend down to change your sorry state, you have to work it out yourself after He, in His infinite mercy, has provided all things to make you comfortable.
But if you fold your hands with the notion that some people will do it for you, what will happen if every other person thinks same way? Then evil will continue to reign and you will continue to dip your hands into sins in order to survive.
And the end result? Hell fire after you die upon all the pitiful, sorry life you lived on earth.
It is better you do things correctly now and enjoy the bounties and goodies, which God has provided for you in this country and you will not have to dip your hands into sins and enter heaven after you die, rather than ply the way of sins now in order to survive and burn in hell after you die.
The choice is yours.
Among the things, which we will all discuss are:
1. The Bible in the book of Proverbs 29: 1-2 says "When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice but when the wicked are in power, the people groan" The question is do we as citizens have a role in enthroning godly people into position of authority and if we have, what are they?
2. What can we do to make our politicians responsible to us, to do what they need to do?
3. Which is better, someone to take possession of the treasury and dish it out to citizens or for the government to provide infrastructure on which individual private business can thrive and also to use the government money to provide cheap medical services and cheap education for students?
4. There are the party members of one political party or the other, are they the only one entitled to government largesse? What if 'am not interested in politics and do not join any political party, should I die in hunger or is it compulsory that I must belong to a party?
5. This next question is for our religious leaders: Has God created some people to be subservient to some special people or He created us the same, with equal right?
These are the sample discussions, I will want us to go though at the Town Hall meeting. So my advice is that you arrive early so that you can get a good seat.
As for me, Politicians have no blame for our hardship.
A community decides what kind of leadership it gets.
Again, any community gets the kind of leaders it deserves.
It is we who must decide the path they must toe.
It is high time we become reasonable and look for ways to free ourselves from poverty.
With all that we are seeing in Nigeria today, only a foolish person will think that Nigerian Politicians will make any sacrifice to alleviate our poverty because what is most important to them is the largeness of the crowd who they can deceive with peanuts that will line after them.
And if it is wizards or witches or crooks or murderers who will deliver votes for them, they do not care, it is ok with them.
This Town Hall meeting is for everyone; educated and the uneducated, women and men, old and young.
Why will you young people and graduates who are roaming the streets without job spite this Town Hall meeting?
Why will you undergraduates who have no hope of job after all the sacrifices, which you and your parents are meanwhile making spite it? The choice is yours.
I want you to listen to this. The former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu has assured me of his willingness to be at this Town Hall meeting.
You will remember that Senator Mantu recently in March has confessed to the whole world that the ways they play politics are wrong and he has become ashamed of it and things must change.
This raises my hope for the country.
So right away, put Saturday August 11, 1000am in your diary as a date for the Town Hall meeting at Ilorin to discuss about our fate and that of our descendants.
The other announcement is for the people of Oyun Local Government in Kwara State and environ.
By the grace of God, we will gather in September for an Interfaith Solemn Assembly and Prayer for the Nation.
The Oyun JNI and Oyun CAN will work out the venue and date and shall be communicated to all in due time.
The traditional rulers in the Local Government chaired by the Elerin of Erinle, Oba Abdul Ganiyu Olusokun have nodded their approval. May their reign remain a blessing to their subjects.