“In repentance and rest shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)
A confused and clueless leadership mirrors the confusion and ‘cluelessness’ of the society, just as a corrupt leader point to the corrupt conditioning of the people. A people always get the leader they deserve. And the leader is always a reflection of the society/the people he leads.
Repentance and Restoration
Change is a process and not a political slogan. Change can either be positive or negative. You can either be changed for the better, or for the worse.
And the greatest barrier to change is a selfish, self-centered and myopic mindset. A mindset can be described as a set of attitudes or fixed ideas that somebody has and that are often difficult to change. A leader who tries to enforce change that is alien to the society would meet with stiff opposition. Because change, must start from within to be effective.
Back in Old Testament days, the people cried for ‘change’.
They argued that they wanted to be like the other nations: They felt their present leadership was anti-progress. However, they forgot that they were undergoing a process of positive change already. These were a people group who had lived under the influence of a foreign culture for centuries. They had lost their cultural heritage as GOD’s own people. In addition, they had lost their independence and became slaves in that foreign culture.
When GOD supernaturally granted them independence, they could not let go their victim-mentality. They held unto the culture of their foreign colonial masters which was negating the purpose of their liberation. They were given autonomy so that under Divine leadership, they would become a model nation: A reference point for other nations of the world.
Rather unfortunately, their mental attitude became a major barrier. They were not able to follow the process for positive change. Their mindset had made them hard-hearted, stiff-necked and very resistant to positive change. They had no understanding that “changes” must first be internalized to be productive: under the influence of some disgruntled and selfish elders, they rebelled and made CHANGE their political slogan. They made the Prophet Samuel who was then their leader; the ‘scapegoat’.
The prophet Samuel felt affronted but GOD calmed him down and told him that the people’s demand for ‘change’ was not a rejection of him Samuel, but a rejection of GOD’s Divine leadership. GOD acquiesced to their demands. HE agreed to ‘change’ their leader and leadership style and to give them the ‘man of their choice’.
However, God gave a warning:
He told them they were getting into a phase that would be characterized by adversity, because the new leader would be relentless in serving his personal and selfish interests at the detriment of the populace. He said further that, the people would suffer under the yoke of oppression so much so that they would seek Divine Intervention; but HE would not answer their cries. (Read all about it in 1 Samuel chapter Eight).
The people eventually got the ‘man’ of their choice as promised. Their victory was short-lived. Soon after, things went south for them.
All that was foretold happened.
The story of that chosen leader (King Saul) had a tragic ending. Although he was a good person, he became corrupted by having great power thrust upon him.
SIMILARITY: State of the nation-Nigeria
There is so much similarity between our present Nigeria of 2016, and Israel during the time of the Prophet Samuel. We saw obvious faults with the past administration of Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan. In comparison, Prophet Samuel and our past leader (President G.E.J) were good but weak leaders who lost control over their ‘children’.
However, it is rather unfortunate that like Israel, in trying to correct what was wrong, we have made a greater mistake. Go back through history and the Bible. Israel was in a transitional stage and they needed a leader who had a heart for GOD. GOD himself chose Samuel. Nigeria too was at a place that needed someone with the grace of GOD upon his/her life to keep the nation together. Look at the circumstances that brought Goodluck Jonathan to power. I see a Divine hand and answers to the prayers of those who did not want our nation to disintegrate,
It is true that our past leader was a good man. But when he faced the reality of the evolving political scene (which I described in the first part of this writing) he lost control. How did that happen, you may wonder?
The problems of Nigeria are diverse and deeply entrenchened. Any person who sits at the helms of affairs must constantly have spiritual coverage: but preferably from the positive spiritual realm where CHRIST is LORD.
When President G.E.J came into power, jubilation by both the Christian and Muslim communities filled the air. However, soon afterwards some of the ‘religious fathers’ fell out with him and began to subtly manipulate the people against him. All this happened because in an unguarded moment he made some uncomplimentary statement against the ‘elders’ of the ‘Church’.
It is only in Christianity that a fallen soldier is trampled upon.
It pleases GOD that we should pray for our leaders. So that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (See 1 Timothy 2 1-4). Instead of encouraging their congregants to counter the forces of evil that were at work against the Body of Christ in Nigeria, some of the ‘Church fathers’ manipulated the people to commence praying against our national leader. Then chaos resulted: for as Scriptures says, ‘a house divided cannot stand’
The irony of it all was that the Muslims had accepted him even though he had professed to be a Christian. When His own ‘people’, the Christians started the ‘spiritual war’ against ‘him’, the Muslims had to rethink their stand.
The two major realms of existence are the spiritual and the physical.
The spiritual realm controls the physical realm. Before anything manifests in the physical realm, it must have been decided first in the spiritual realm. Prayer is the most powerful means of deciding issues in the spirit realm. People call into play the power of the ‘one’ they pray unto. The more you pray, the more power you release into your situation.
And there are also two kingdoms in the spiritual realm. Which are: God’s Kingdom of Light, where CHRIST JESUS is Sovereign: and the kingdom of darkness where Satan the devil head’s.
It would interest you to know that there is ongoing warfare between the two kingdoms to dominate the Souls of Humans. There is no demilitarized zone. You are either in the Light with Christ or in the dark with the devil. Most Christians are so ignorant that a house that wars against itself cannot stand. Satan thrives at creating dissent and division among Christians; in order to weaken their unity. Because he knows that Christians are a force to be reckoned with when there is unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
When Christians stand together in prayer, much positive power is released into the world, and evil cannot thrive.
That was why he struck at our unity and got some ‘ignorant’ Christians to do his dirty work for him. Satan gave them a cause and they cursed. Most carnal Christians default to their occult-roots when facing challenges. That was the reason the Christian ‘Nay-Sayers’ reverted to their religious condition steeped in African Traditional religion, and went into witchcraft praying.
And the ‘man’ fell.
He lost the positive spiritual support he needed to confront and subdue the political terrorists, the political power-brokers, and the Established Bureaucrats; and he became game. They began to play him like ‘Ludo”. His spiritual covering had gotten big holes in it: his prayer partners had abandoned him: and the demonic hordes swamped him.
It may interest you to know that ‘G.E.J’ still had some faithful “watchmen’ who were still praying for him but they too soon lost faith in him; the spiritual battle was fierce.
The paparazzi too were on his case. And he lost faith in himself. It was as if he had sold out his soul to the devil. With everything going wrong around him, he was seen to be indifferent. He had gone into stupor- the witchcraft-praying had cast a spell on him.
When the hedge is broken, the serpent strikes.
And the vampires went to work. They almost sucked the life out of Nigeria, but for the mercy of GOD.
They sold Nigeria to the lowest bidder.
For example: Egbin power plant was valued at $1.2 billion by a German electricity company but was sold to Sahara energy for a mere pittance of $470 million. If it were possible, they would have carried Nigeria and hidden it in some foreign bank as well. Moreover, “GOD pass them”.
And instead of seeking a Divine and lasting solution for the state of the nation, the great multitude sought help from a mere human being! They chose Buhari. By that act, the Christian leaders entered into an arrangement with the child of the ‘bondwoman’ that invoked the curse of slavery, while rejecting the liberty of the Messianic Kingdom.
Nigerians are very religious by cultural conditioning.
By cultural conditioning, I mean that for the most times, we allow our parents, religious leaders, peers, professors, politicians, and the media define our cultural values, ethical systems, beliefs and ultimately the way we perceive ourselves.
And that was what happened when the ‘past president G.E.J.’ was found wanting in his administrative style. Our ‘cultural conditioning’ came into play. The political power brokers and our religious leaders carried the people into idolatry by influence and by intrigue. According to Webster, idolatry is ‘’the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing’
Idolatry is the bane of humanity. It is not just a Nigerian or African problem.
Idolatry is when we place something or someone first in our life before the living and true GOD
A country where the majority of the people chose to idolize a human being as the one who would ‘change’ their known world, already set-up that person for failure. That was an outright rejection of GOD and the enthronement of Godlessness. The people literally told GOD to ‘hands-off’ their country because the ‘man’ of their choice would do better than GOD.
Anyone or anything thing that is exalted above the knowledge of GOD is an idol and idols face destruction. Idolatry was the main reason GOD rebuked and judged the nation Israel (read the book of Chronicles).
Unless we as a people return our faith back to GOD we are in for a rough judgment ride which has already commenced.
Since Nigeria became independent the people have been very confused. They have been caught in the middle of ethnic-cultural and political conflicts. Then the military forcefully took over the reins of power and further compounded the situation.
Those who fought for independence had very good intentions. But rather unfortunately, they did not think to set in place structures that would re-orient the minds of the people. Instead, they built upon structures that were already against the cultures, personalities, and natural boundaries of the people.
The founding fathers were from both the south and the north. Those from the south were majorly Christians, while those from the north were majorly Muslims. These two people group had clearly set natural boundaries; the Rivers Niger and Benue. However, instead of reverting to the Divine Order which was clearly visible by the natural boundaries, they chose to continue with the enforced structure of colonialism and western culture, which in itself breeds confusion.
The diversities of our cultural and religious heritage are like oil and water which do not mix well. To further compound the issues, the colonial mentality made us vulnerable to western influence. That has been the bane of Nigeria.
Most of the crises in Nigeria have been motivated by ethnocentric and religious disagreement, involving Economic and Political power sharing. Because some groups refuses to be marginalized.
And the most recent election results that brought Buhari to power showed a mixing of oil and water. To some extent, the various ethnic and religious groups agreed, howbeit temporarily, to put their major disagreements aside. They chose to make an idol of a mere human being. While clamoring for change, they did not realize they were being manipulated into idolatry.
There is no one person who can bring about change in Nigeria. Nigeria belongs to GOD.
The change we need in Nigeria should cut very deep into the very heart of the people. That change would bring about the transformation of lives. When the mindset is changed, change would reflect in every aspect of life
GOD has been our help in ages past and HE will continue to be our HELP.
The way forward is a back to GOD time for Nigerians. As scripture states;
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
To turn from our wicked ways involves ‘repentance’
This is a wake-up call for all Christians in Nigeria.
It is our responsibility as the people of GOD to go back to GOD in repentance.
Let the truth be told:
‘We the Christian community failed woefully in our position as ‘watchmen to the nation’. We sold-out our heritage and denied the faith. We put self-interest before GOD’s Word. Instead of transforming the world with the Word of GOD, by the renewing of our mind: we allowed the words of man to deform our minds’.
Let us come together and ask GOD to forgive us and our nation Nigeria. It is not enough to be making Prophetic declarations and positive confessions. Those have their have their place as well as REPENTANCE.
What is REPENTANCE?
From 2 Chronicles 7:14, Repentance can be defined as a change of mind and attitude leading to a change of action
True repentance involves:
- Godly sorrow for sin:
We need to see sin from a Godly perspective as well as admit to it. The Psalmist cried in repentance to GOD saying, “My guilt overwhelms me–it is a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4; NLT) I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins. (Psalm 51:3; GNB)
GOD forgives sins not excuses. As a Nation we should admit to our faults.
- Confession of sin:
“I acknowledged my sin to YOU, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5).
Sin need to be confronted by acknowledgement. When we confess our sins GOD forgives: however, in Proverbs 28:13, the Bible says: “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy” (NLT).
Again it says in 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Repentance will bring mercy, cleansing and restoration.
- A willingness to give up sin:
We must as an act of repentance be willing to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Hebrew 12:1),
This means that we have to identify those things that always trip us up and be willing to lay it aside.
- Develop a hatred for sin.
In order to develop an aversion for sin, Bible says:
“You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done.’’ (Ezekiel 20:43, NLT)
Restitution means the restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner. Read Luke 19:8
Repentance is not simply a once only act, but a heart attitude, or mindset (if you will); that is basic to our ongoing relationship with GOD.
After Repentance, there will be RESTORATION:
In the Bible, Restoration means to receive back more than has been lost to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. The main point is that someone or something is improved beyond measure.
GOD’s Word is Truth and absolutely dependable. HE promises in HIS Word to forgive our sins and heal our land if we turn back to HIM in repentance.
People of GOD; you have a responsibility to identify with and repent for and on behalf of your nation.
Some promises of Restoration to Live By from the Bible
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame”. (Joel 2:25-26; ESV)
“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy”. (Isaiah 61:7; ESV)
After Job repented and prayed for his friends, GOD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
That is our expectation for our nation.
Great people, Let us Pray this:
Identification Repentance Prayer from Daniel 9
“LORD, the great and awesome GOD, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
We have sinned and done wrong.
We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our (Presidents) kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of … (Nigeria) both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.
We and our (Presidents), kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you.
The LORD our GOD is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our GOD or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
All … (Nigeria) has transgressed your laws and have turned away, refusing to obey you.
“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written… …have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to … (Nigeria)
Just as it is written …, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our GOD by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our GOD is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
LORD our GOD, who gave us independence with a mighty hand and who made for you a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, and we have done wrong.
LORD, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Nigeria, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Nigeria and your people an object of scorn to all the nations of the earth.
“Now, our GOD, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, LORD, look with favor on your desolate country. Give ear, our GOD, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the (nation)… that bears your Name. We do not make requests of YOU because we are righteous, but because of YOUR great mercy.
Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my GOD, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” in CHRIST merciful name we pray. Amein
My Prayer for Us:
We cry out to GOD to please come back and be GOD over our nation Nigeria. We say Come take YOUR place in our nation and our lives. Be BIG, BE MAGNIFIED. Thank YOU for forgiving us and manifesting the healings of our land.
Direct our leaders and cut short the days of our affliction.
In CHRIST name, we pull down ancient structures of evil and demolish ancestral yokes of oppression, wickedness and corruption. We dislodge, dismantle and destroy the core of ethnocentric control of leadership placement and declare that Nigeria is GOD’s own country and powered by the HOLY SPIRIT, in CHRIST matchless name.
We affirm that the LORD will guide us continually, satisfy our souls in drought and strengthen our bones. And we shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Hallelujah!
Let us stand in the gap for Nigeria so that mercy will prevail over judgment.
You can appropriate this for your nation as well.
Shalom! – hephzibah christly