Last week, Nigeria celebrated her independence. That was specifically on 1st October, 2012. By that, it means Nigeria is fifty two years old. Any human being who is fifty two years old can be properly said to have come of age. After all, it is said that “Life begins at 40 (forty)”
However, most of the text messages I received on 1st October, 2012, showed that many are still in doubt as to whether Nigeria has actually come of age. They were mostly discouraging text messages, describing Nigeria in all manner of ways. Some called it such names as “wobbling, staggering, crawling, insecure, hungry, strifeful” and other ugly or unprintable names. I sat down since then wondering at a lot of things. What is wrong with Nigeria? When will Nigeria grow up and stop being “Obi” who has remained a boy? What can be done to assist this nation created by God to be great by blessing her with necessary manpower and resources? Who is to blame for the woes of this nation? Is it the nation itself or the citizenry?
One thing I noticed, though, was that our people look at independence only from the political point of view. They think of independence only from the angle of one country regaining its freedom from the rulership or misrule of another nation. But of what use is it to a country if it gains political independence but has not gained independence economically, socially, religiously and otherwise? I think this is the problem with Nigeria! Nigeria has gained political independence but it has not gained independence from sin.
Today, painfully too, Nigeria is covered by sin, just as the waters cover the sea. What it means is that even though Nigeria may have gained its political independence from her British colonial masters, it may not have gained her independence from the wrath of God. I say this because there was nothing done in Noah’s world for which God destroyed it with flood that we are not doing today in our nation! The men in Noah’s time became so wicked and God
got tired of contending with them (Gen. 6:1-13). Are we not wicked today in this nation? God also destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah basically because of their love for homosexuality (Gen.19:1-28). Is homosexualism not overflowing its banks in our nation today?
We, as a nation, must look back and identify all those places where we have been offending God greatly. He has given us His commandments. However, we have chosen, out of greed, to contend with Him. We place our own will above His will. We show so much ingratitude to Him and take His kindness for weakness in every way.
However, I do not think that this nation has gone out of redemption. There is still hope because there is something the Lord is saying to this nation. He is saying “If My people who are called by My name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
One thing is very clear from the above scripture, that is, that God hates wickedness. I have already said we are wicked. We pay God back with evil. We hate our fellow human beings, blackmail them, deprive them of their entitlements, inflict all manner of pains in their hearts, maim and even murder them.
Another thing that is clear from that biblical provision is that God hates the proud. This is why He said if only we can “humble ourselves”. Arrogance is killing us here. Anyone who finds himself in one privileged position or the other, would want the rest of the people to worship him instead of God. I wept when I heard an African tyrant claim that he was the “God of Africa”. I have also heard people claim that they are this Jesus or that other Jesus. By many things our people do or say, they take the glory that should go to God to themselves, thereby provoking God’s wrath, which burns across the nation. How then can we claim to be independent? Are we independent from bloodshed, bribery and corruption? Are we independent from fornication, adultery and idolatory? Are we independent from greed, self-centeredness and avarice? What are we really independent from? Poverty?
All the above shortcomings notwithstanding, God is still willing to heal our land. But He gives conditions for the healing to come. We must humble ourselves. We must pray. We must seek His face. We must turn away from our wicked ways.
We pray, don’t we? The question is how do we pray? How do we come before the presence of God? I am sure we remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Lk.18:9-14). The Pharisee came before the Lord full of himself and devoid of humility. He was more concerned about what another person was, without minding what he was. He could not acknowledge his own sin, even when he was busy seeing the sin of the Publican. This is our problem today. When we pray, we do not pray that things will be alright for the country so that all of us will benefit. We pray God, and often give it to Him as a command, to make things alright for us above every other person. We are not in anyway ready to acknowledge our sins, abandon them or turn away from them. Instead, we continue to see ourselves as the holy or righteous ones while every other person is a sinner. This is arrogance! It is pride, which God hates. The Publican said, “God forgive me for I am a sinner”. He spoke from a broken and contrite heart. Remember, God says He would never despise or neglect a broken and contrite heart. (Ps.51:17)
Our people must come to terms with the hard fact that our nation will continue to crawl or even remain static like mud water unless we make our relationship with God right. This is not negotiable. The only way we can be truly independent is when we have kingdom principles (laws of God) written all over our heart, practising them and teaching them to our children (Deut.4:9; Deut.6:4-9).
We need to pray hard for forgiveness of our sins. We need to pray for this nation. We need to stop killing ourselves because God does not take kindly to shedding of blood. For instance, when Cain killed his brother, Abel, God did not take it lightly (Gen.4:1-12). When David killed Uriah to take his wife Bathsheba, God did not take it kindly. (2Sam.12:1-18). When Ahab and Jezebel conspired and caused the innocent blood of Naboth to be shed so that they might take his vineyard God did not take it kindly (1Ki. 21). To show you what I mean, let me take you back to David. He was to build a house for the Lord. However, the only reason why God forbade him from building a house for Him was that he had fought so many battles and shed much blood (1Chron.22:8).
We should pray because the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. The only thing separating Nigeria from God is our iniquity Our sins have made Him hide His face from us. He is complaining that our hands are defiled with blood, our fingers with iniquity, that our lips have spoken lies, and that our tongue has muttered perversity. He is complaining that no one calls for justice, nor pleads for truth. He is not happy that all we do are trust in empty words and conceive evil in our hearts (1sa. 59:1-4). Indeed, brethren, God asks “Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” (1sa. 50:2).
I believe God has the power to deliver Nigeria from satanic forces and oppressions that are working hard against the great destiny of this nation. He can deliver this nation from frustrating leadership and misrule. He is able to deliver us from those whom the devil has given mandate to over-populate his kingdom with human beings.
I believe only God can truly make us independent politically, socially, economically, religiously and otherwise. That will only be when we truly decide to return to Him and abandon our wicked and evil ways.
The Lord said to prophet Jeremiah, “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord:………..Return now every one from his evil way and make your ways and doings good” (Jer.18:11). He is saying the same this day to all Nigerians. He is saying that we must stop all the evil things that are making our nation wobble, stagger, crawl or static. He said so to the people of Nineveh. They listened and returned to Him, and he restrained His hands from destroying them (Jonah.3). He can do the same for Nigeria, if only we make our ways and doings good.
So, you see, we have hope. We have hope that our tomorrow will be better than today. We have hope that Nigeria can be great again. If not for anything, the Lord has assured us that He knows the thoughts He thinks towards us, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jer.29:11). What is holding us is ourselves. We must, in truth and in spirit, invite Christ into the life and affairs of this nation. Remember! When the disciples of Christ were in that boat and the storm came rocking it, it was only when they invited Christ that the storm calmed down. (Lk.18:22-25)
I pray that every storm rocking the boat of this nation calms down, as we make up our minds to invite Christ into Nigeria. May we truly be independent in every sense, in Jesus name. Amen.