SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014.
REMEMBERING GOD AT ZERO HOUR (2)
In Matt 11v1-6, we are presented with John the Baptist a fiery preacher and the fore-runner of Jesus Christ. Actually, he was put in prison as a way of slowing down his preaching. Therefore, when he heard that Jesus had come, his thinking was that his time of release was at hand. Unfortunately, days went by and he did not hear anything from Jesus whom he prepared the way for. Of course, he had earlier said: ‘I must decrease but He should increase’, Jh 3v30. At this point of no positive answer and being abandoned in prison, he was forced to send some delegation to Jesus just to be sure. “Are you He who is to come or shall we look for another?” You cannot effectively blame John the Baptist for he was at that moment at his zero hour.
It may be upsetting, particularly with the reply he got from Jesus through those he sent to Him. Indeed such a reply was capable of making one an apostate. What did Jesus say to him? Go and tell John, the blind are receiving their sight, the poor, the goodnews are being preached to them and the lame can walk among others. It is painful that this John died a very painful death for Herodias had requested his head and it was given to her through her daughter on a platter. The girl in question had danced to the satisfaction of King Herod during his banquet and that made the King to make an offer I am sure he later regretted. We are cautioned not to use our mouth to write a cheque that our body cannot cash.
However, it is heartwarming to note that Jesus told us not to be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. As a child of God, if we are faced with similar situation like that of John the Baptist inspite of fasting programmes, revivals, retreats, vigils, what do we do? Yes, there may be no quick answer from heaven or heaven may seem to be slow, do we give up or seek alternative solution? No! interestingly, what Jesus said about John should give us hope: ‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he,’ Matt 11v11, Luke 7v28.
People of God, we should be encouraged to remember God at any zero hour. At this time, it is expected that we should not lose sight of Prayer, 1 Thess. 5:17, studying the word of God, Joshua 1:8, have faith in God Heb 11:1, uplifting their souls by testimonies of others Heb 11:8-end, depending on the Holy Spirit – for the arms of the flesh shall fail Jer 17v5, Ps 20v7, 44v6, confess at all time positively like Job – ‘I know my redeemer lives’, bear no grudges and eschew bitterness, resist unforgiving spirit and show love to all, beware of bad counsel, live a life of holiness and righteousness Jer 9v24b.
Fortunately, the God we are serving is sovereign. He knows all things for nothing escapes His knowledge. He created us for a purpose and we should live to fulfill our purpose in life. Yes challenges, trials and tests may come our way; we are not to be distracted but to bear with great equanimity. The Bible was right: ‘many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all,’ Psalms 34v19. Are you at your zero hour now? Is it not good you remember the God of your salvation? At least, He will not abandon you. Remember, the word of God is for you and for me, it says: ‘I know the thoughts I have for you, that of good and not of evil and to give you a future and a hope, says thy Lord,’ Jer. 29v11. Therefore, cheer up!Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.