‘Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, how much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him! But the people were completely silent.’ (I Kings 18v21)

AHAB brought 850 pagan prophets to Mount Carmel to match wits and power with Elijah. Evil kings hated God’s prophets because they spoke against sin and idolatry and undermined their control over the people. With support of the wicked kings, many pagan prophets sprung up to counter the words of God’s prophets. But Elijah showed the people that speaking a prophecy wasn’t enough. One needed the power of the living God to fulfil it.

Elijah challenged the people to take a stand— to follow whoever was the true God. Why did so many people waver between the two choices? Perhaps some were not sure. Many however, knew that the Lord was God, but they enjoyed the sinful pleasures and other benefits that came with following Ahab in his idolatrous worship. It is important to take a stand for the Lord. If we just drift along with whatever is pleasant and easy, we will someday discover that we have been worshipping a false God.

As we begin 2012, on this first day of January, it behoves us to take a decision that will guide our families, our nation and our endeavours for success to be recorded at the end of the year. God must be included in all our planning and programmes.

In life, however, some people find it very difficult to make up their minds on issues even when it will be beneficial to them and the society at large. Part of the reason might be halting between opinions, which we know are dangerous. Elijah said: ‘…If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!’ The implication therefore is that an action must be taken; there is not going to be neutrality.

Joshua told the Israelites: ‘And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD’. Joshua 24v15.

The Lord is looking out for people who will stand out for him in this New Year. Yes, it is possible. You may be the lucky one, if you make the right decision.

Regrettably, sad events are being witnessed in the nation— unemployment, economic meltdown, poor road networks, epileptic power supply, disruption of academic calendar and even senseless bombing and killing of innocent souls on Christmas Day.

The Nigerian government should, as a matter of urgency, come up with a decisive action in order to save the suffering masses of our dear country. No doubt, our people are suffering, and everything should be done to put smiles on their faces. The time of treating threatening issues with kid gloves should be over.

The federal government under President Jonathan should take a decisive step that will not only protect lives and properties but at the same time give hope to Nigerians that things have changed for the better. Action is required in order to sustain such.

The Minister of Interior was right, although speaking in respect of tackling the menace of Boko Haram, he suggested a change of approach by the federal government in order to quell activities of the sect. I think this is a welcomed development, especially now that people are calling for non-retaliation from Christian quarters in order to save an already battered and embittered nation from plunging into civil war.

A right decision will keep Nigeria on track. But if we fail to take a timely decision, it can be better imagined what the state of affairs will be in the New Year.

The New Year places a burden on us to make a decisive decision that will affect society and us positively. God is at work, and we must cooperate with Him for the common good of all.

The year has just started. Whatever decision we take directly or indirectly will affect people under us. And the decision—political, social, economic or religious— we take may have grave consequences.

Let us ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all our endeavours so that God will bless our effort in this wonderful year.

Happy New Year!

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,
Delta State.


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