When the Israelites were about to crossover to the Promised land, and Moses was giving them the last speech in Deuteronomy, there was a caution concerning the desire to be like other nations in terms of rulership, law and governance. In chapter 17.14-20 moses said: “When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.
Moses understood that the Israelites had a likelihood of imitating those other nations: heathens. This was not the only thing he cautioned them against. Intermarriages, worship, faithfulness in weights, boundaries and so on. They were faithful enough in failing to follow the admonishment of God through Moses which led to their enslavement every now and then (in Judges) and ultimately the one to Baylon. After the leading of Samuel as a judge they went to him and demanded for a king – 1Samuel8:1-22. Samuel reminds them that their demand is the rejection of God’s leading as their king – Theocracy. They wanted a king who would lead them to war, a king whom they could interact with, a physical king. God tells Samuel in verse 7 that it is him, God, whom they have rejected. Samuel reminds them that their sons and kings will be required of the king for servanthood. He reminds them that there will be a cost to sustain this kind of leadership. The cost would include blood and resources as well as families. Mtoto akililia wembe mpe- sometime when an individual persists to do a thing with a prior warning, let them do so and learn from the consequences.
Worth noting is the fact that with Yahweh as their king, things were okay. All people were equal. Victories, success, prosperity would tag along. God had called them his people and he was their God and Father. That had come to a pause. With the reign of Rehoboam they cried foul – 1 Kings 12. Mwimba wa kujidunga hauna kilio – you can’t claim a lash is painful if you’re the one lashing yourself.
Paul in writing to the Romans, 12.1-2, says:…I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. This is exactly the call that God was calling the israelites to in Deuteronomy 17. He wanted them to set the standard under his guidance. He wanted other nations to learn from them. It is C.S. Lewis who said: There are only two kinds of people: those who say to God “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says “All right, then, have it your way.” In this case, Jehovah executed the latter.
If there be a time when the church has been drawn to the worldly standard, it is in our generation. Prosperity gospel will often navigate throughout the sermon every time the preacher gets to the pulpit. The world’s measure for a blessed person is the person whose level of income is high, owns several vehicles-from 1, big house or living in a good estate with a lot of luxuries, having the best meals, kids going to good schools – group of schools and so on and so on. The ability to spend high is equated to being blessed. Materialism is the measure of being blessed in our generation. And that is okay if that is what the world determines. The people of God are also engaged in this rat race. No race of possessions has been set forth but many are in it by comparing themselves with others in terms of who gets what and when and such yet the other individual is not aware. And if one does not own as much as their neighbour, they will petition God asking the very question: Why me? Mind you advocating for laziness or prayer alone; it is a call to have a broader category in the standards and view of God.
We are so much into pursuit of material blessings till we forget to pause and reflect on the journey we have come through and appreciate the faithfulness of God. When did good health cease to be a blessing? Or joy, peace, happiness, salvation, goodness, etc? Jim Carrey stated: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
Our coming to Christ Jesus was an enrollment to a school whose ideology is against that of the world. Fame, desire to have a name and own more and be above all and so forth are the ideas that the world would like all to embrace but the call of Christ is to demonstrate forth his glory. Godliness with contentment is great gain – 1 Timothy 6.6-10…Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world,and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. It is the uncontrolled appetite that has led many to engage in vices like corruption, unfaithfulness, laundering, etc while some have fallen prey to preachers who are hyenas in sheep wolf who by all means introduce statements like ‘someone is holding your star’ or ‘panda mbegu (plant a seed of particular amount)’ or ‘you have a curse and need anointing oil or bloom or holy water’ etc. Such gymnastics will never miss on our tv screens- almost all Gimmick pastors own a station- and it will never amount to raising and nurturing believers who can have an effect on the current generation. This is false hope whose aim is to help the victims be at par with the world whereas in reality they are languishing more. Unfortunately only the ‘MAN OF GOD’ seems to ‘prosper’ – materially.
This translates to sermons of faithfulness, worship, holiness, prayer, bible study, integrity and accountability, consistent discipleship, justice, truthfulness, godliness, etc being scarce. Speakers and preachers of such sermons are quite unpopular as well as their subscribers. They are termed as the boring pastors, boring believers, boring churches, etc. Christianity, if it is to make an impact, christians themselves must live a life that is Christ centred. That the scriptures, in totality, must become a part of our life. We must shift the bar and live our lives in accordance with Biblical standards. We must let the world copy from us, the believers, but not vice versa. Jesus says that we are light set on the mountain top to light the world as well as salt to give flavour to the world. When the world penetrates the believers, we become corrupted and dance to their tune and so is the reverse. However, when the latter occurs, there is joy, there is prosperity for all, there is growth for all but when the former takes effect:there will be wailing and lamentation.