Evangelism

GOD FORBID! By Barr ETC Ogbusu

Whenever you see people snapping their fingers or shaking their heads and saying “God forbid”, then, it is the clearest indication that something is wrong, terribly so, somewhere. So, it follows that when people say “God forbid”, what they want God to forbid is evil, something bad. They are simply saying, “No, not again!” or “May it never happen again”. Most importantly, the sentence “God forbid” invokes God’s intervention, to save His people or help them out from a bad situation.

In those days, people would say “God forbid” to anything wicked, like murder, adultery, stealing. Even though they did not know God or Christ the way we know them today, their little world seemed much better than our large world because they avoided everything that could make people say “God forbid”.

Today, every look I take around our world, I see the need for our God to forbid a lot of evil or bad things going on. I have also known that God is ever willing in His mercy or compassion to forbid all those evil occurrences in our world today if we decide to forbid them ourselves.

However, I really know that there are people in our world today for whom people will say “God forbid” whenever and wherever their names are mentioned. These are the evil ones in the society, the oppressors of this world, agents of darkness and humiliators of men. These are people who committed or are committing high level of atrocities in the world and of whom people would say, “Not again Lord, would you create people like these whose memory bring pains and suffering to your world”. Are you one of such people or are you one of the ones the mention of whose names bring joy and reprieve to the people?

The ultimate aim of every Christian is to make heaven or enter the kingdom of God when he dies or when God’s judgment comes. This is why we go to church every Sunday and listen to what the preacher says. This is why we have and read the Bible. This is why we interact with other Christians. This is why we are named after the Christ. It will, therefore, be tragic for any Christian to end up in hell.

Actually, one of the gospel songs I enjoy most is that one, which pleads with the Lord and says, “May 1 never be found missing in your kingdom after struggling or running the race of this life”. This is one plea we should make most and be conscious of because it will be sheer waste of time and life if anyone goes to church every Sunday and gets involved in all the weekly activities of the church or even wears the Bible about as a necklace but still goes to hell on the judgment day. Pray that God forbids this for you!

The other day, we listened to a testimony of someone who got so close to heaven and came back. At the end of it, everyone said, “God forbid that I should go to hell.” But can going to heaven or not going to hell be achieved just by merely saying so? I think not. We need to do much more than mere words to be able to run away from hell into heaven. So, what shall or should we do?

To be able to make heaven, we must turn away from iniquities and return to God. Our world, indeed our nation, is fast drifting through the valleys into calamity and catastrophe. We cannot just sit down there shouting “God forbid”. We must make conscious efforts to save our world. Those who call on the name of the Lord must depart from iniquities. We must stop calling the name of the Lord in vain. We must eschew all our criminal tendencies and remove all the garments of wickedness, which we are putting on. Our God is not an unjust God. He has assured that He would return to us if we return to Him (Zech. 1: 3)

We owe ourselves a duty to retreat from sin in order to placate God and make Him restrain or forbid Himself from doing to us what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19.1-29). He is still able to forgive us as He did to the city of Nineveh (Jnh.3). We cannot continue in sin and at the same time keep shouting “God forbid”. That will be blowing hot and cold at the same time or trying to serve God and mammon. Just like St Paul said to the Romans, we shall not go on sinning so that grace may increase (Rom. 6.1).No! God forbid!

As I was saying, there are so many bad things going on in our nation today, which we must pray God to forbid. He should, for instance, forbid that the boko haram or any other group, no matter their description, should keep on leaving His house with blood and tears of His children, on daily basis. We must pray for Him to surround us at a time like this even as mountains surround Jerusalem (Ps. 125:2). He should forbid that we should worship Him in fears and tears.

These days, we have a lot of tyranny in the house of God. The leaders shy away from their responsibility of leading the followers aright, or from taking the right decisions at the crucial time. Leaders are not sincere. Followers are insincere. Members of the congregation who are not given opportunity to practice their “thiefology” “are doing their best to pull the church down. We must pray God to remember the promise that the church of God shall move on and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it (Mt. 16: 18)

We must pray with utmost sincerity for God to forbid that church leaders should mislead the congregation. He should please forbid that members of the congregation should pull His church down. His church is a church of praise to Him, a church to seek His face, a church to draw souls to Him. It is not a church of gangsters, a church of fraud and general indiscipline. May He forbid that His church should come to point where the selfish interests of people instead of His saving or redeeming interests should be served.

I look at my nation and my world, and my soul bleeds with serious pain. “Water, Water Every where! Yet, Not A Drop To Drink”.  Looters and oppressors are every where. People do evil things with arrogant impunity. Leaders put draconian policies in place which favour only them and their relations while others suffer. The rich have refused to see the many Lazarus’ at their gates. Not many people are willing to speak out for fear of their lives and positions. But God forbid that people should keep silent in the face of obvious tyranny or oppression. God forbid that the evil man should prosper, that the wicked should thrive while the righteous suffers, or works from morning till night, but get little or nothing as a reward.

Brethren, there is another side to this coin. There are people who will see you progressing or happy or smiling and they will say “God forbid”. They do not say “God forbid” because they want to make genuine efforts to meet up with you where you are. When they say so, it is an announcement of their determination to stop you by all illegitimate, illegal and unorthodox means. These are the negative minded person. They can kill. They can use the last kobo in their pockets to patronize the native doctors, even when their children would have no breakfast to take by 5pm, and their school fees remained unpaid. They do not remember blood-ties when they sneak around in the nights to plant their charms. We need to pray here that God should forbid people like these from coming our way. May they not even remember us, in Jesus name!

Brethren the devil is also on the prowl, looking for whom to devour. He beats his drums of war, strife, sickness and poverty. Unfortunately, many people are dancing away to hell with such beats. But Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Shall the menace of boko haram separate us? Shall bad rulership separate us? He went on to answer it thus, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-37). We should all pray and say, “God forbid that any of the above listed things should separate us from the love of God. Amen.

In addition, let us begin to pray that God forbids unnecessary hypocrisy and sycophancy in our world today. Let us pray that He forbids man’s inhumanity to man, injustice, greed, lying and cheating spirit in our world today. May He forbid “A whole me “, “Who are you? “, “Over my dead body “, “We shall see” and “I Big Pass my Neighbour” syndromes in our world today. May He forbid the movement of all those who run to forbid our progress, so that they will never catch up with us, in Jesus name! Amen.

Brethren, I need to pray for myself now and I need you to pray along for yourselves. Let me start by praying God to forbid everything that will make me rebellious unto Him, everything that will make me show Him ingratitude for all the good things He does for me and everything that will make me take His glory or give same to any other, whether in heaven, on earth, in the seas or under the earth, and by whatever description. May He forbid that I should be the last when others are in the front. In other words, He should forbid every spirit of backwardness in me and help me to gain my marks when others are gaining theirs. He should forbid that I should keep crying when others are laughing or smiling. May He forbid that I should not rise whenever I fall or that I do not pick something tangible when I am tying to stand up from a fall. He should forbid that I should be thirsty when there are rivers and oceans all over the place.

 

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