FROM THE PREACHER"S LENSES
|Sunday, November 18, 2018|
oday I want to commence my sermon with a true story found in the Bible.
The country (State) of Judah was years in the past besieged three times by king Nebuchadnezzar's army and the king took his captives to his country in Babylonia, the present day Iraq.
They were however freed after 70 years.
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.
It is just as it has been in Nigeria.
We were at the beginning under the yoke of the Colonial Masters. We were afterwards enslaved by our own Military. It is even now worse under Civilian rule. We have become poorer and we 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.
And this is the reason why I titled this sermon, Another Opportunity to end our Suffering
So, today, I invite you all to join me in prayer to God to end our suffering in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, I am going to request Dr. Kayode Samuel to commit this hour into the hands of God.
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 Nehemiah 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 if they do not want to spend their eternal life in 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; those are the true signs of a politician.
Nehemiah was a true politician who understood it, when his people were facing difficult times and made all sacrifices to make his citizens comfortable.
Compare Nehemiah with our politicians in Nigeria, who are greedy and care less about the plight of the citizens. 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!
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 people not necessarily in politics but who have as well benefitted, when the government was responsible, when the government was honest and dedicated to the nation but by their actions, after they occupied high positions to 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 by engaging in fraudulent practices on their different tables, converting government money into their pockets.
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 making 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 could join movements, which are seeking for solutions to our problems but they do not.
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, they were on salary rather than paying school fees, 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 into her original responsible status.
Another election time is around the corner.
This is another opportunity to redeem our lives.
If we desire our journey to heaven to be made much easier, this is the time to work towards it by putting the Godly in the positions of authority.
Remember the word of God in the book of Proverbs 29:1-2, which says "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice but when the wicked are in power, the people groan. The people mourn, they suffer as it is happening with us at present.
The Bible is God's wisdom. Its words are beyond human reasoning. It says that the people rejoice when the Godly are in authority because the Godly will have concern about the poor while the ungodly couldn't care less.
The concern of the poor is only on the lips of the ungodly in power. It is not deep in their heart because nothing must disturb their life of opulence and they must accumulate money for their yet to be born descendants. By this they decimate the citizens as we have been experiencing for sometimes now.
The word of God cannot be faulted. It is very logical. That we are suffering means that we have been enthroning the ungodly. So we must accept responsibility for our suffering. We must have been enthroning wicked people who care very little about us but themselves and their families alone. I add to it that we have been enthroning the ungodly because we too are ungodly. We cannot see. We are short sighted. We allow the Politicians to deceive us every time with non-lasting gifts. We do not exercise patience to allow them to do things, which will last, which our generations will inherit.
And because life is so harsh for those who have no feeling of the government, they dip their hands into all kinds of unrighteousness, sins that will lead them to hell after they die.
That we will be saved from going to hell is my concern and the reason for my series of campaigns.
I do not do these for any reasons of personal gain. The only gain and joy, which I desire is for everyone to live comfortably and no one misses heaven because of difficulties of life due to poverty; difficulties, which could tempt them to do sinful things, which will make God not to accept them into His home at the end of their journey in this world.
And this is the reason why we must ensure that we vote only the righteous people into the government to administer our affairs.
I just recalled the story of Nehemiah, who did not toll the line of his predecessors in government, who decimated the people. But because Nehemiah had the fear of God in his heart, the comfort of his people was his concern.
We too in this country in a time past, had had Godly people in the Government.
At those times, there were employments for everyone, whatever his/her level of education. Workers received their wages promptly.
Teachers with only Grade three certification lived like kings, taking care of their relations and relations' children, unlike today when University graduates roam about the streets without jobs.
At those times, West African School Certificate graduates got employment promptly, without hassle.
University Students ate three course meals three times a day; call it Presidential type of meal, if you like.
They got jobs during summer vacation. And before they completed their final examination, two, three or more jobs were waiting for them.
Within 6 months of employment, they had loans to purchase personal vehicles.
Student Nurses, Pharmacy Students, Medical Laboratory Science Students rather than paying School fees, got monthly salary
All those were possible because candidates seeking elective posts did not bribe the electorates with huge US dollars, which is not even our national currency. Bureau de change was absent at their conventions (Primaries).
Party members of the time were themselves honest, not greedy nor selfish. They did not take nor ask for money from those seeking office.
The care of the country in those times were possible because the Politicians of the time did not deceive citizens with useless baits; some tins of milk, some cups of rice or motorbikes. All, which are none lasting!
The Politicians of the time did not settle the dignitaries in the society by building houses or buying vehicles for them in order to shut their eyes and mouths from their thefts, thereby pauperizing the citizens.
The decision is ours to make, either to allow the Politicians use our money for the benefits of us all or to continue to behave like Esau, who traded his birthright for a single piece of meal by taking useless gifts from the Politicians, gifts that are short lasting, which ends in everlasting poverty.
Those gifts are not different from the baits, which fishermen put on their hooks to catch fish.
If we take those gifts, we have signed our poverty for another four years because the Politicians will have to recoup their monies. And it is profitable for them.
I have lived in many countries of the world, There is not one, where the people turned their Politicians to God as we do in Nigeria.
We just cannot give our Politicians rest any moment. We must go and kneel down for them in the morning, in the afternoon and before they go to bed at night. And these are borne not out of any deep love for them but because we are greedy and selfish and we want the Politician to give us more than our share of the common wealth. We want him to give to us, what belong to others. How then will they not behave like gods.
God has blessed us so much in this country that no one must live poorly. There is no need, absolutely for anyone to try to run away from the country, due to joblessness, where many have died in the Sahara Desert and in the Mediterranean sea in their journey to overseas.
My counsel is that every Town, every City, Village and Community should start to hold Town Hall meetings where we can put ideas together on matters pertaining to improving our lives, how we all can partake of the commonwealth and jointly fight the dragon (poverty) which is hindering us to live godly and, which can make us to miss heaven.
Enough of hunger and thirst in a land flowing with milk and honey. No one should miss heaven due to ungodliness brought about by poverty. Not in Nigeria.
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 should all discuss is:
These are the sample discussions, I will want us to go though at the Town Hall meetings.
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. Can it be as a result of our sins that God has given these ungodly leaders to us? Actually, that must be the case.
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 leading 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 behind 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 should be 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 these Town Hall meetings?
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.
The Inter-Religious Organization for Rehabilitation of Nigeria through Righteousness, which I am one of the Coordinators will be happy to work-out the logistics with any town, wanting to organize such a meeting.