Evangelism

By Barr. E.T.C. Ogbusu, KSC THE WICKED WILL NOT GO UNPUNISHED!

In the days when we were kids, we played one trick or the other, some of which were outrightly mischievous, even though we did them innocently or for the fun of it, without knowing their full implications. If you have never been a child before (is it possible?), you will never know what it means to be innocent. But even in our innocence, there were certain things we would do, which would not go down well with our parents.

In my case, I had a father who even though was very kind and nice, was also a disciplinarian. He would not take it from any of us (his children) who did what was not right. He would flog the rats out of our eyes and when he was done, he would say, “The wicked will not go unpunished”.

I did not associate what my father used to say after flogging us with the scriptures, because I was too young to know. However, I understood the word “wicked” from a child’s perspective, which was “anything that was wrong”. This could include not washing plates, not sweeping the compound, fighting with our siblings, not going to fetch water or firewood, or even riding my father’s bicycle without his consent.

However, as I got older, I began to understand what wickedness is all about. I began to understand that wickedness means the craving for evil, to do it or persist in doing it. I also got to know that the words “The wicked will not go unpunished” was not my father’s own, but that of the Bible (Pr.29:16).

I also read stories about wickedness from books like the Bible and literature books. For instance, from the Bible, I read about Ahab and Jezeebel. They were particularly known for wickedness by killing Naboth and taking his vineyard. Jezebel, particularly, became synonyonous with wickedness, such that we would say, “As wicked as Jezebel”. One thing is that no one (at least not me), ever thought that the name Jezebel was either an ideal name or ideal wife. (1 Ki. 21)

From literature books, I read about Caesar and Brutus in good time. When someone betrayed another, we would call him Brutus or Judas Iscariot. When someone killed another who is close to him, we would call him wicked Brutus.

In all, we never thought that all those things we read either from the Bible or literature books were real. They sounded to us like fairy tales. Never in the least did I ever imagine that such things could happen even in our own time. But here we are today, living in a world full of wickedness and wicked people, a world where wicked acts are almost being taken for granted.

Those days, we heard of head hunters and cutters. They normally operated on lonely roads and on market days when homes would normally be without parents around. Parents used to warn their children to stay indoors. No one ever passed through where head-hunters were likely to be. It happened! Do not just be surprised. But that was when there were not many people who called on the name of the Lord. At most, that time, only about four different Christian denominations existed. Church Missionary Society (CMS), Roman Catholic Mission (R.C.M), Methodist, Presbyterian churches! You could just count them! There were also not many educated people, or enlightened people, so called!

One thought that all those things died with the mad quest for education, and establishment of churches, orthodox and unorthodox. But how can one, in this 21st century explain that the fact that someone went to her farm only to be beheaded? I read about this from the papers and I felt the rudest shock of my life? I could not stop asking whether we are returning to the barbaric, primitive stone age where we are supposed to have left many years ago.

Is it not to get rich quick through rituals that heads are caught? I also heard that heads are caught to bury certain people. Think of this! If you do, you will notice how wicked the sons of men have become. I develop goose peoples each time I think of what a decapitated person passes through, the pains, the struggles, the knowledge that one was about to die that type of death, and the blood ! I think of all these and I say, “The wicked will not go unpunished”.

The Bible says that when the wicked thrives, sin will also thrive (Pr.29: 16). Because the society encourages wickedness, rather than resist it, sin thrives. People are now doing all manner of wicked things. For example, kidnapping is wickedness. Armed robbery is wickedness. Blackmailing others, sitting on people’s Files and promotions are wicked acts. Intentional bad or oppressive rulership is wickedness.

During our Christian Fathers’ Conference this year, we were given a teaching and shown video clips of how people are producing fake products and sending into the markets for people to consume. All in the name of money! We wept! I wept because of this act of wickedness. I wept because we saw that almost everything our people eat or drink are fake. I know too that there are some fake persons or human beings living today in our world. This is why I once wrote on this column that all of us need NAFDAC numbers. Some people thought I was joking. It is certainly an act of wickedness to send fake products into the markets for people to consume and die, or get sick. Is this not the reason why people still remain sick after taking drugs prescribed for them by qualified medical practitioners ? The wicked will not go unpunished!

The worst kind of wickedness by man is his wickedness against God, his own Creator. This happens when man abandons God’s commandments, His Will and desires, and begins to pursue his own evil agenda. This kind of wickedness provokes God’s wrath (2king 17:11)

It was because the people of Israel abandoned God’s commandments and worshiped idols, contrary to God’s instruction, that God got so angry with them, rejected them, afflicted them and gave them over into the hands of people who plundered them (2 ki. 17:14-23)

The major reason why God destroyed Sodom was that the people of that city were wicked and were sinning greatly against Him (Gen.13:13, Gen 18.20, Gen. 19:4-29). It was also on account of the wickedness of the sons of Eli that the Lord dealt with that family in such away that any ear that heard about it tingled (1 Sam. 2:12-17; 3:11).

Some parents are so wicked to their children and vice versa. Some husbands are so wicked to their wives and vice versa. Some mothers in law are so wicked to their daughters in law and vice versa. This week, in the papers, I read about a daughter in law who beat her mother in law to death. I have read about a father who administered hot iron on her daughter for allegedly going out to see her boyfriend. This type of thing is not disciplinary measure. It amounts to gross wickedness. And the Bible says, “The wicked will not go unpunished”

When I look everywhere, all I see is wickedness among the people. I see wickedness in religion, in education, in government, in the tribal set – up and so on. Today, we are suffering the menace of Boko Haram, all in the name of religion. People are bombing out human lives and property in the name of religion. This is wickedness. The other time (September 11), some people forced passengers-filled air planes into the World Trade Centre building and left trails of tears and sorrow.  They claimed to have done this in the name of religion. This is wickedness.

In our educational system, students kill and maim in the name of cults. This is wickedness! Some lecturers victimize their students, particularly the female ones who have not succumbed to their amorous passes at them, and those who have failed to buy their pirated “books” and handouts. This is wickedness.

Some tribes would not want to hear of other tribes. They would deny indigenes of other tribes employment, admission in schools, a say in governance and so on. This is wickedness.

Brethren, it does not benefit anyone to be wicked because the consequences of wickedness are grave. I have already pointed out the biblical warning that the wicked will not go unpunished. That is not all! There are also other biblical warnings. For instance, it says emphatically that the wicked is like the chaff that the wind blows away (Ps. 1:4). He will not stand in the judgment (Ps. 1:5). His way will perish (Ps. 1:6). There is an assurance that God will rain on them fiery coals and burning sulphur; and a scorching wind will be their lot (Ps. 1:16).

The Bible also says that the woes of the wicked are many, yes, many (Ps.32:10)! For instance, it says that the Lord laughs at the wicked because their day is coming (Ps.37:13). Their hopes come to nothing (Pr. 10:28). Their own wickedness brings them down and when they die, their hopes perish (Pr. 11: 5-7). I am sure you have seen armed robbers and murderers killed before because of their wickedness. That is how their wickedness bring them down. When they are killed, they are forgotten. That is how their hopes perish!

I do not know whether you have noticed that when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy because people see his death as good riddance of very bad boil. Think of any wicked man you ever knew. Where is he now? Is he dead? Do you remember what happened when he died? I have seen one whose grave was dug almost two feet deeper than the normal depth of a grave, so that he will never reincarnate. I have seen ones whom people threw oil bean seeds into their graves, thus signifying the wish of the people that they go on a journey of no return. I have seen one whose remains people refused to get close to because they believed that even when he was dead, he could still pull one wicked act before he was buried. This is the lot of wicked people.

Like the Bible has said, the woes of the wicked are many. He flees when no one is pursuing him (Pr. 28:1). Whenever he moves on, he keeps looking back to see if anyone is following him. You know, someone who cuts people’s heads from behind, will never allow anyone come behind him or her with a matchet. Their ears are always open and listening to hear what people will say about them as they move, even when no one is saying anything about them. When they hear a knock on their doors, they will never answer and say, “Yes, come in !” They must first peep through the door hole or send people to first monitor and see who has knocked. This is the lot of the wicked!

The consequences of the wickedness of the wicked often live after them and affect their families. No one would want to marry their daughters or give their daughters to their sons to marry. No one would trust their children enough to give them employment, jobs or contracts. Sometimes, those they wronged may take revenge on the families they leave behind.

The worst is that salvation is far from the wicked (Ps. 119:155). In their wickedness, they often think they are in heaven while they are roasting in hell. They can never stand in judgment when the Lord calls on them to account for their works.

By this write up, I am calling on the wicked to repent of their wicked ways because they will not go unpunished if they do not forsake their evil ways. (Isa. 55:7, Jer. 35:15). As the psalmist puts it, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked (Ps.1:1). We are warned elsewhere not to set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men but rather, to avoid it, not travel on it, turn away from it and go on our own way (Pr. 4:14). In other words, when we see what seems to be the prosperity of the wicked ones, we should look the other way and not be perturbed, so that we may not envy them and have our feet slip. If our feet slip, we would definitely lose our foothold (Ps. 73:2-3).

Brethren, in our wickedness, we are being reminded that God is not interested in the death of the wicked (Ezk. 18:21-23; Ezk.33:14-19). He therefore calls us to repentance. He wants us to humble ourselves, pray, repent of our wicked ways, and turn away from them. He says if we do these things, He will hear us, look down from heaven above, and forgive us our sins and heal our land (2 Chron. 7:14). We must heed this, bearing in mind that the wicked will not go unpunished.

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