God, our refuge and strength – Part 5
What does this Psalm say to us in the volatile security situation in Nigeria? God wants us to know that in an insecure Nigeria, we do have peace and security in Him.
This is paradoxical. But it’s true and real that, because God dwells with us, we are safe and secure in an insecure Nigerian environment. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble in Nigeria.
The enemy is unrelenting; more and more innocent people are being gunned down and butchered. Bomb manufacturing factories are being discovered, while many are not.
The Boko Haram group is implacably sworn to destroy Nigeria, unless their interest and the interest of their sponsors prevail.
The killer herdsmen have clandestinely taken over in a wider scope in pursuing the Boko Haram agenda.
Spiritual life is gradually becoming dreary, with endless security threats and occasional attacks on Christians and Muslims and places of worship.
Would God help Nigeria? Has He helped in the past? Has it not been said, following several powerful God’s interventions in our national affairs, that God is a Nigerian? The Rabshakehs are at our doorstep, demanding political disintegration, humiliation, socio-economic and cultural collapse.
God, Who delivered Jehoshaphat from the menace of the Moabites and the Ammonites; Who delivered Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem from Sennacherib and his arrogant and defiant Rabshakeh, would deliver Nigeria.
Although Nigerians are being pursued by an implacable foe, God is our fortress, our refuge, our help and our deliverer, and He will help us at the break of day! The Lord Almighty is with us. There is no one else than Emmanuel, God with us. The basis of our confidence is that “God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at the break of day (verse 5).
Emmanuel, God with us, has always meant the peace, prosperity, security and victory of those who trust in the Lord. Indeed, “the God of Jacob is our Fortress.”
Can our political leaders, like Martin Luther, on hearing depressing and gloomy reports, summon the faithful around him and say “come, let us sing (or read) the forty-sixth Psalm?” and thus challenge God, “the mighty one in battle,” to arise and let His enemies scatter!
God’s Message To The Church In Times Like These
What has this Psalm to say to the Church of Nigeria at these trying times? There is evil in the world. There is sin. There is unrelenting, unprovoked attacks.
But much more, there is Grace, the grace of God providing salvation for God’s children. First and foremost, the church must examine herself, to ensure that the affliction of Boko Haram and the killer herdsmen are not permitted by God to chastise the church for its lukewarmness, compromises, corruption, poor witness in the political, socio-economic, cultural and judicial life of the country.
How well has the church of all denominations fared in sexual morality? Some find it convenient to keep silence over presence of homosexuals in their denominations.
The cry to God of innocent children sexually abused in what is called paedophilia by churchmen; the influence of power cults; the preoccupation of gospel ministers with acquisition of money and the glamour associated with wealth – all these can earn the church divine displeasure and chastisement.
Is Boko Haram operating by God’s allowance as an instrument to discipline the church? God used the pagan Babylonians to take the Jews into Exile; and used Cyrus of Persia to set them free to return home and rebuild the Temple and the city walls of Jerusalem.
Even when viewed from this perspective, God remains the security of His church, both here and in eternity.
(Culled from THE OPENING ADDRESS by His Grace, The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh, MA, Fss, Mss, LLD, DD.; Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate Of All Nigeria to The Standing Committee of the Church Of Nigeria held in the Cathedral Church of St Peter Minna from September 17 to 21, 2018)
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