Peeling back the mask 2- Bahasha ya Ocampo

After the deadlock on whether to go local or international tribunal, The peace broker then Kofi Anan offered the envelope to the ICC chief prosecutor. A man whose name has also become a common house hold name in Kenya, Louis Moreno Ocampo. For many Kenyans, Bahasha ya Ocampo was the msema kweli. The contents of the Bahasha were names of people who Kenyans had to judge for themselves.

But there is another Bahasha ya Ocampo that we are all familiar with. You don’t need to go far to see, that everyone carries this envelope. Bahasha ya ocampo questions how fit we are to live in this world, it questions our worth and weight.  It surfaces a lot in Interviews, appraisals, opportunities, titles and sometimes in court cases where we need to prove ourselves. Some of our envelopes have affirmation and some call us to condemnation.   

The contents of our Bahashas: They are our credentials, our papers our academic proof that we are fit to live in this society. Our results slips, recommendation letters and CV’s. Have you ever reflected on the contents of your bahasha.

For me when I see this documents I here various voices in my head, and some of you hear them too

  • Just how far will this get me… this is enough just to be an ordinary Kenyan
  • Now let’s see what Mum and Dad will say…
  • Some of you don’t even want to look at it
  • I wonder what’s in my friends envelop- Have you ever been in an interview hall and wondered what is in the other candidates envelope. Well I looked through my wife’s and I tell you, I wonder how we came to be together…Clearly education couldn’t get me this kind of a wife…there must be something more….

Today we look at Bahasha ya Ocampo as we peel back into our LIFE Conviction God is who He says He is and we are Who He says we are, today we ask, Who does God say we are,

Let’s turn to our scripture today and look through another set of fine young people who went through a similar experience and learn from their experience and envelopes.

Scripture: Daniel chapter 1 (read)


The book of Daniel is a movie like story about the children of Israel while under the reign of an oppressive and pagan King Nebuchadnezzar while in exile in Babylon. Chapter one sets the stage for a battle between two gods and two kings that spreads throughout the rest of the book. There is a series of contests of greatness and power between these two gods through their representatives and their Kingdoms. It is a show of might between the god of the Jews through Daniel and the god of the Babylonians through their King Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter one begins by portraying a picture that one side seems to have won, however I need to say here that although it appeared so, God had determined this and was still in control despite Nebuchadnezzar thinking his god, Marduk had won. The theft and transfer of the Temple articles such vessels and implements from the temple of another god were thought to be spoils properly given to the conquering god, who brings other nations into subjection to his/her worshipers (cf. 1 Sam 5:1–2). In short, the battle was not yet won until the conquered worshipped the god of the conqueror.

The young men are taken far away into exile (far from family, home, mentors and moral/religious examples, Jewish worship and culture, etc). There is a forced enculturation as the teenagers are taken into training (thorough Babylonian education).

Today my thesis is Simple: that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Welcome to Babylon Academy- Centre of Babylonian Excellence. A School of the high and noble, only the royal, handsome, quick to understand are found in this kind of school.  The principle is the King Himself- Nebuchadnezzar, the Deputy is Ashpenaz. The diet is food from the King’s table himself- Sounds like some schools you know.  The subjects- Literature, Babylonian language (Babo) and Social ethics – Babylonian style. It was a school for the elite, definitely the kind to feature in our News papers today. It seems the Babylonians thought physical and intellectual qualifications go hand-in-hand. But there was a catch

For the Jews who were brought into this school it was meant to blind them of where they came from and who they are. These God fearing Jews in a strange world, which neither-feared or knew their God.  Although it promised success…it meant they had to forego their God and who they were. Look at the names they were given

Shakespeare play asks, “What’s in a name?” Well, much meaning is contained in the Hebrew names of the four Jews. Daniel means “God is my judge.”  Hananiah is “Yahweh is gracious.”  The name Mishael asks “Who is what God is in other words who is like God?”  Azariah means “Yahweh has helped.”

The new names were likely a sign of new ownership, new allegiances, and thus a new destiny. This was common court practice at that time. At least two of the Babylonian names are theo-phoric. They contain the name of the Babylonian God’s  Bel and Nebo/nego: Belteshazzar and Abednego. Compare Belshazzar, Nabopolassar, and Nebuchadnezzar.

The Kings table- The enticement of the King’s table- what it meant a shared allegiance, some commentators mention that this food was offered to the Babylonian gods. To share a table with the king also was a sign of allegiance and dependence on the king. What Kind of things would be in their envelopes at the end of this training: Allow me to call this the training of the world…I wonder what is in your envelopes?

The training of the world- brings knowledge but not wisdom – (Ujuaji) Verse 3-7

Now I am not against schooling however there is a sense in which the world system and its philosophy has puffed our heads with knowledge but subtly has robbed us of our convictions in God. The world deceives us to identify ourselves by our brains, wits and intellect at the cost of our faith.  And a lot of times we do not believe who God says we are because the world system and education blurs us to seeing our true worth, our true Identity. Just like Daniel and His friends we are offered and enticed into elitism and yet the catch has always been the loss of faith, the loss of conviction of our God. The good news is that What God says about you is more important and powerful than What Bahasha ya Ocampo says about you. The question is simple…Whose report will you believe?

Without the fear of God, we have a society that is educated and informed yet we lack the right convictions to stand for what is right. We are in-effective. No matter the degrees or titles or networks we bear or academic weight we bear, Only the fear of God is able to withstand corruption in our society.

We invest a lot in the training of the world, I must say education is expensive…some of you know what it means to pay school fees, but the greatest disappointment is after spending that much our children still lack character.

But how do we invest in the fear of the Lord, How do we train ourselves to have the Conviction to stand amidst these allures of this society. I want to say it goes back to where we find the Truth about us, in God’s word. In comparison, How are you investing in spending time seeking God’s truth about us.

We have time to Read the stocks, so that we stay afloat with the share industry, read profiles so that we can predict the scores, we study reports so that we can make decisions, we observe fashion trends so that we are not left out,  but How much attention do we give God’s word…so that we can LIVE.  There are many educated but only those who stand by their convictions make a difference in the society- (Faith is lacking) I need to restate that The Fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom.

But let me introduce you to another school- The school of the fear of the Lord. Verse 8-15                                                But Daniel and His friends -Resolved not to defile him. This was not easy, it meant seeking a special diet card, a diet card that the others would laugh at you. It meant a threat to the cook. And by God’s grace- The deputy made secret arrangements with the cook for a special diet for these God fearing Jews. But why would they do this, defy the command of the King? Because the Fear of the Lord is Wisdom.

As God’s children their training was that of a mighty God, they recounted his mighty deeds before Pharaoh, how they crossed the red sea, how the walls of Jericho fell, how they saw the Lord give them victory after victory, How they walked with God….a fire by night and a cloud by day.

The school that says “not by might not by power but by my spirit says the Lord”                                                          The school that says “I am the God who calls the things that are not as though they are,”                                                     The school that taught them to walk by faith and not by sight                                                                                                The school that says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well.                                                                                                                                                                    The school that says “Man shall not leave on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The school that says “You are Accepted, You are Significant and you are Secure in Christ Jesus.                                                   The School that believes God is who He says He is and we are who He says we are….

Hear the words of Proverbs Chapter 2: again

  • The training of the Lord is available to anyone who seeks it. It is found in the word of God, Not just high fees but high faith. Standing for your convictions- This then is how we fight corruption in our society. We can invent machines to keep people accountable, but we cannot stop the wickedness to corrupt even the machines, only our convictions will stand. CCK switched off fake phones, but with just 200 Ksh, someone has already put a sign we switch on, switched off phones.
  • Success is seen in the right perspective- it is a means to help others in the society

Listen to the ending of the story  Read verse 17-20. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

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