Our Youths, God’s Words And The Leaders They Want To Be
“Today I have the most wonderful news for you as I believe you love God, in other words, for the fact that God has called you. That you are here is not by accident, it is God that made it possible. I have received this word that I am sharing with you even before we met. I am equally assuring you that in all the things that have happened to you in the past, and also that are happening to you today, and even in what will happen to you in the future, God has been working, and God is working now, and God will be working in everything for your present and eternal good. What I am telling you now is what God summarizes in Romans 8:28, and it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Though the Bible was completed more than 1,900 years ago, it remains absolutely relevant to the spiritual needs of the people today, and in this context the youths. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
One way in which the Bible remains relevant is through its many insights regarding the natural world. Numerous scientific observations have been confirmed in biblical passages, including Leviticus 17:11; Ecclesiastes 1:6-7; Job 36:27-29; Psalm 102:25-27 and Colossians 1:16-17.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is expedient to say that Bible stories can be great for teaching anyone that is passing through difficult times, and they also have real meaning for anyone who wants to understand God and how He wants him to act.
As regards the learning from bad examples as referenced in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, the Bible has many stories about leaders that bungled their chances while in power; being it religious or political.
It is from the foregoing viewpoint that one would want Nigerian youths to draw lessons from. Examples are replete in the present and past political dispensations where some Nigerian politicians foolhardily tried to live life without God or succumbed to one of many human foibles and weaknesses. We have seen politicians that rose from nothingness to become national figures to the extent that they had the privilege of dining and winning with the high and mighty whenever they wished to, only to bungle the opportunity like the proverbial restless goat that irredeemably tightened itself with its tether.
The foregoing view no doubt reminds one of 2 Chronicles chapter 26 where the story of Uzziah can be found. For the sake of clarity, Uzziah who was actually one of Judah’s exemplary kings, and was only 16 years old at the time he became a king. He had a long reign that was full of military victories. He was one of the few kings who had a personal relationship with God and was successful. In a similar vein, Nigerians are in the ongoing political dispensation witnessing how some politicians that mischievously arrogated the role of “godfather” to themselves so much that they remain the ones that literarily hold what can in this context be called the political yam and knife, decide who to give the slice of yam or who to deprive the privilege.
Like Uzziah who was unprecedentedly proud while in power or rather in position of influence, and went against God’s law, Nigerians have in the past and present political dispensations been witnessing how so called “godfathers” have been rebelled against by the people, and to their consternation humiliated and humbled. Since Uzziah was proud by virtue of the power and the strength God bestowed on him, he decided that he would offer incense up to God; something God had commanded that only the priests should do. When the priests resisted Uzziah and tried to tell him that it was not his place, he became angry with them. While he was arguing with the priests who had dared to go against him, God cursed him with leprosy. He was forced to live a reclusive life throughout his earthly journey.
You may have asked, “What’s the purpose behind this story, set long ago in ancient Judah?” The answer to the foregoing question cannot be farfetched as its purpose is for us, particularly the youths, to learn from King Uzziah’s example. His success caused him to become haughty, and he resorted to disregarding God’s law. To my view, godfathers and other categories of politicians in Nigeria should be very careful and be on guard so that pride and arrogance do not become their banana peels, especially as most of them are by each passing day playing God to the detriment of an ideal democratic leadership. The message in this context is that the masses, particularly the youths, on their part should also learn from the bad examples set by political leaders if they do not want to follow in their footsteps. For instance, during the looting of warehouses that trailed the EndSARS Protests that occurred across the country, majority of the looters as captured in video footages were the masses; that consisted of some youths that cut the picture of those that are mischievous and unscrupulous. Without any iota of exaggeration, there was no point joining the leaders in their looting spree that has seemingly been the hallmark of democracy since it was birthed in the country in 1999.
At this juncture, it is expedient to let the youth know that the word of God as conveyed to humanity by the Bible should at all times be studied with the mindsets of internalizing the principles of good leadership set by exemplary biblical leaders. Of course, the Bible doesn’t just record the bad examples that people have left behind. There are many good examples in the Bible as well.
One of the examples is Hezekiah; another king of Judah. When threatened with imminent destruction at the hands of the mighty Assyrians, Hezekiah asked God for assistance. Instead of being arrogant like Uzziah, Hezekiah tore his clothes and knelt before God. When he received a letter from the enemy, he laid it before God and humbly asked God for His help (2 Kings 19).
If Hezekiah had relied on his own feeble strength to pull him through, he would have almost certainly been annihilated. However, since he relied on God, his enemy was destroyed and his kingdom was safe for many more years.
Another excellent example in the Bible is that of the heroine of the book of Ruth. After losing her husband and father-in-law, Ruth stayed loyal to Naomi; her grieving mother-in-law, and went with her to the land of Israel.
After arriving in Israel, she worked diligently to provide for both herself and Naomi. Her loyalty and hard work were noticed by several people, including a wealthy farmer named Boaz. He made sure that Ruth and Naomi were taken care of, and he eventually married Ruth.
Ruth’s decision to worship the God of Israel and loyally serve her mother-in-law provides an excellent example. She was rewarded, and God greatly blessed her and the woman to whom she was so loyal. What lessons can the youths learn from Ruth? The answer to the foregoing question cannot be farfetched as it simply means that the youths when voted to power in any given election should ensure they remain loyal and committed to their constituents and constituencies while in office.
Another advice I would like to offer to the youths in this context is for them to endeavor to be learning about God as doing so by each passing day will unarguably take them far beyond their expectations.
The reason why they need to be learning about God and from Him is that God is a great, infinite and invisible being. Learning about him will teach them who God really is. To this end, it is expedient to ask, “How can they learn about God? How will they know who God is and what is He like?
The youths can learn about Him through what others say in the Bible. For example, Paul tells us that God “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), but that simple statement generally doesn’t fully sink in until we read through an account like the story of the Exodus.
In the foregoing scripture, the youths who decide to seek God in their lives will definitely see the extreme measures to which God will go in order to keep His word. He even took on Egypt, the world’s mightiest empire in the biblical days, by sending 10 devastating plagues. He did this in order to free the enslaved Israelites due to a promise He had made to Abraham hundreds of years before. God demonstrated clearly to the descendants of Abraham, and to us, that He is completely truthful and fulfills all His promises.
The Gospels also will help the youths to learn more about God. In the Gospels we see the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as a very personable Being who ached, hurt and felt like we do. More than that, these four books record His story for us to read. If the youths want to know who God is like, they should always read the accounts of Jesus’ life as human in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
For example, most people know that Jesus Christ was a man of peace, but did that mean He would just always let people disrespect God and His temple? We can find the answer in Mark 11:15-17.
It’s encouraging to know that God takes notice of not only the great, but also the small who serve Him. During a visit to the temple in Jerusalem, Christ saw that there were profiteers who were making money off of the poor, God-fearing people who came to worship their Creator in the temple. Angry over the situation and the mockery of God’s holy temple that was making it like “a den of thieves,” Christ made a whip and herded the livestock out, as well as overturning the tables full of money taken from the poor.