SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2015.
O LORD VISIT OUR LAND
‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,’ II Chron. 7v14.
Every Christian, every Nigerian should begin this New Year with this affectionate cry, appeal and call unto God: ‘O LORD VISIT OUR LAND’. It is important particularly on the perceived fears in some quarters concerning the scheduled elections for the year, the sudden fall in oil price, continual treat from Boko Haram, lingering unemployment and likely earthquake among others. With these, we cannot keep quiet but beckon on God, the owner of the universe to come to our aid.
It was the intention of Solomon also that God should visit the nation Israel. However, according to Bible scholars, God rejected his father, David from building Him a temple for the simple reason that his hands were stained with blood. Although, he was allowed to gather materials for the building of the temple for the Lord, one of his sons was later to build it. Therefore, the lot of building a new temple now fell on Solomon, Son of David.
Actually, Solomon in his day built a magnificent temple, what a glory! And so on the day of dedication of this house of God in the presence of his subjects, he made this passionate appeal to God that He should hear his people when they call upon Him from this temple. He was also quick to request from God to forgive the people should they sin against Him and come back to ask for forgiveness. He was aware that sin could cut off the request of his people from God. Remember, God was of a purer eye than can behold iniquity.
Long ago, the Prophet Isaiah made a case: ‘behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that he will not hear,’ Isa. 59v1-2. So sin will hinder the people’s prayer from being answered, implying therefore that it must be dealt with if they hope to receive from God in His temple. It becomes more serious as the Bible observed: ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper…’ Prov. 28v13(a).
Therefore, God gave the following conditions if He must accede to the request of Solomon on behalf of his people. According to God, He said: ‘‘if my people, (the nation Israel) which are called by my name should do the following: humble themselves by admitting their sins – for pride and arrogance can make them not to be humble and at the same time, not in a position to acknowledge their sins, this will prevent God from answering their prayers. Pride is a weapon the devil uses to deny God’s children what rightly belongs to them and God made it a condition that it must be dealt with.’
Secondly, the people should pray and ask for forgiveness. What does the Bible say: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,’ I Jh 1v8. So there is need for genuine prayer of forgiveness and such can move the hand of God to cleanse and restore His people.
Thirdly, they must seek God continually. The Bible is quick to add: ‘those who seek the Lord shall find Him,’ Jer. 29v3. It is a condition that must be met seeking God in spirit and in truth. We can appreciate when men genuinely seek the face of God; He is never far from them. Even in our own time, we cannot but seek His face for our own good and for His intervention in our lives and in our nation, Nigeria.
Finally, God insisted they must turn away from their sinful behaviours, call it idol worship, blood-letting, sexual sins, bitterness, backbiting and allied sins that do not glorify God. It is then and only then, He can now come down and heal the land and make it to produce in order to sustain its inhabitants.
I sincerely believe that in this New Year, God will visit our land and turn things around for good. Yes, He will heal this land and 2015 will be a manifestation of God’s great visitation. The nation will not disintegrate; rather, it will grow from strength to strength in Jesus name, Amen.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.