Nehemiah 1: 7-9: We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
The only sure road to peace is to turn back to God. Often times, Israel showed unfaithfulness to God and got punished severely for it. But the moment they turned back, God compassionately would receive them, cleaned them up and raised them again.
In verse 2 of 1 Samuel Chapter 7 after the Philistines, who seized the Ark brought it back, the Bible says all the people of Israel decided to turn back to the Lord. If any individual, institution or nation profane the sacred order of the Lord, just as it is happening here in Nigeria today, such will never know peace until they take a ‘U’ turn back to God. The Israelites lost their peace, God turned His back against them, their friends suddenly became their enemies, their prayers became abomination to God and virtually everything came to a standstill for them.
Israel went to war against their enemies, even with the Ark of God in their camp, yet they were utterly smitten in their thousands. No man or nation can stand against God and become victorious in life battles. This time, all the people of the entire nation of Israel turned back to God after realising that their arm of flesh has failed them, their army and security architecture have completely collapsed.
Israel before now has turned its back away from God. They sinned against God and allowed idols to enter their hearts: idols of mammon, worldliness and materialism. This is the kind of message Nigerians love to listen to today; this is the message Pastors love to preach today, and you now have the sacred order being profaned and we expect God to be happy. God used the wicked Philistines to teach the Israelites a hard lesson of their disobedience. I think Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen are the Philistines of our day that God is using to punish Nigerians, especially the Christian folks. It’s high time the whole nation – Nigeria turned back to God. It’s high time individual and even corporate organisations have a rethink and turn back to God.
The Israelites were many times defeated in battle, just as our Nigerian army are being constantly defeated in battlefront with Boko Haram today. Is it not amazing that the Nigerian army that usually took the frontline in ECOMOG to restore peace to warring zones in West Africa is now being maimed, killed and humiliated by Boko Haram? Israelites sinned against God. They did abominable things and a huge number of them were killed and the ark of God was being captured. At a certain time, God needed to redeem His name and visited the Philistines with afflictions. May God visit the Philistines of your life with afflictions in Jesus name. May God visit the Philistines of Nigeria with afflictions in Jesus name. God inflicted the Philistines with boils and destroyed their crops with pestilence.
• Bishop Bola Arinola, Presiding Bishop, Sanctuary of Power International Church (SOPICHURCH). 19, Rowland Ayiyi Street, by Christland College, Idimu, Lagos.