Sermon Series: MKENYA HALISI
Sermon title- Our Land, our wealth and our responsibility
Once upon a time, God took the world’s most beautiful creation, most beautiful people, and most beautiful landscapes and made Kenya. A journey through Kenya will reveal to you sights and sounds of God’s glory captured in the unique and spectacular natural features and peoples that God carefully put together as a master piece in this continent of Africa.
Out of the many up-close and bold camera shots from National Geographic and other media, the advertisement video of Niko na Safaricom, stands out for me as an excellent attempt to entice your senses to acknowledge the beauty that God had in mind while He was making Kenya.
Have you been to any of those places? What is the one place you have been in Kenya that you think no one else in here has been?
We continue with our series on MKENYA HALISI, We have been preaching and learning through the colors of our flag, If I may refresh us
We began with Black for the people-
Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord, Whose people he has chosen as his inheritance’
We said we draw our Nationhood from God and also that Nationhood is built on the sanctity of the people.
Last week we looked at Red, the sacrifice and bloodshed of our nation –
The People who know their God will be strong and do mighty exploits- Through Esther we asked: What is your God given position of influence in this country, Do we have passion like Esther to act in our time such as this, and lastly what is your plan to engage in building this nation.
Today we focus on Green: our Land- which is our wealth and our responsibility. My thesis is drawn from Psalm 16:6 “The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance.”
As I mentioned in the opening of this series; from the beginning of time God established a unique relationship between himself, the Land and Man. While He made both man and the land, God ordained that these two would have a symbiotic relationship where man benefits from the land if he takes care of it, and the land suffers the man if man abuses it. God made man to continue the works of creation through the land. Man was to till it, work it and nurture it and reproduce or recreate through the land.
The result of this creation order is that Land in all cultures across the world is a measure of Identity, wealth and stability of a Nation. Where the Land suffers, the Nations lose their stability, wealth and ultimately their earthly identity.
The Promised Land was therefore of utmost significance to the children of Israel. It was the earthly fulfillment of God’s covenant to Abraham when He called him out of the land of his forefathers and promised to make him into a great Nation, to be a blessing to all people on the earth and have an inheritance of the land for all his generations to come.
The Promised Land became a reality under Joshua who took over leadership from Moses. While Moses’ mandate was to lead Israel out of Egypt and establish them as a Nation through the Ten Commandments, Joshua was mandated to lead Israel into the conquest of the land of Canaan which was inhabited by other heathen tribes and nations that worshipped other gods. (Hitites, Perizites, amorites, jebusites, Canaanites e.t.c)
After wandering in the desert for 40 years, God raised another generation led by Joshua to continue on to the Promised Land. Joshua was a brilliant military leader who had been coached on the fear of God under Moses.
Joshua displayed brilliant military strategy in the way he went about conquering the land of Canaan. He first captured the well-fortified city of Jericho to gain foothold in Canaan and to demonstrate the awesome might of the God of Israel. Then He gained the Hill country of Bethel and Gibeon. From there he subdued the towns in the lowlands. Then His army conquered the most important cities in the North such as Hazor. In all, Israel conquered land in the East (Joshua 12:1-6) and west of the Jordan, from Mount Hermon in the North to beyond the Negev in the south. 31 kings and cities were defeated.
We now read part of Joshua’s farewell speech to the leaders of the land in his old age.
Canaan is now- modern Palestine situated strategically as the center of the world between Arabia, and is the birthplace of Judaism and ultimately Christianity. The region has had a long and turbulent history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics.
The region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Sunni Arab Caliphates, the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, Crusaders, Ottomans, the British and modern Israelis and Palestinians.
Ps 24:1, the earth is the Lord’s the world and all who live in it. Or as we say here all that we are and have has been given to us by God for our enjoyment and the extension of his Kingdom. Allow me to share 3 lessons from this farewell speech.
1. Land is a fulfillment of God’s good promise- After a period of wars and conquests through his early years, the Land experienced about 25-30 years of peace and prosperity. They enjoyed the land flowing with milk and honey, the cities they did not build, the vineyards they did not plant. It is also worth noting that the manna that fed the children of Israel while in the desert ceased when the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land because they had enough from the harvest of the land. Although there was still some land yet to be conquered, they were enjoying the land they had conquered so far.
Joshua was careful to remind them, that all this good land, flowing with milk and honey, was not as a result of their struggle but a gift from God, a fulfillment of God’s promise. It was God who had given them this land. Though they fought battles to conquer it, it was a gift of God’s goodness and grace according to his promise.
From the beginning, Land has always been an inheritance issue, no one creates land, and we only inherit. Though we can buy it, we still leave it. The Promised Land was therefore an inheritance to Israel as part of a father-son relationship. God had predetermined before time according to his purpose that this Land would be part of Israel’s inheritance as his children.
In the same way, God in His sovereignty is the creator and true owner of our land. Our country is a gift from God, out of his goodness to us for his purpose. We did not choose where to be born, He did. In His wisdom, He chose the rift valley, the Mount Longonot, the Big five, the Pokomo and all the people in the land as a sign of his goodness to you. He put together all the minerals in place, those we have discovered and not yet, He was particular on the species to be found in our marines, he set Kenya just in the right altitude and drew the equator and set Kenya’s unique climate. There is a reason you were born in Kenya and not in another country.
Why did He do this…Our Land is the starting platform to seek and respond to God’s goodness.
I was having a chat with some kids this week and asked the kids if they liked Kenya and they said Kenya is boring, because there are no fun stuff. The only fun thing in Kenya is the Water Park.
I sadly noticed this is the plight of many of our children, who are boxed in their homes with phones, toys and gadgets and missing out on the wonders God has for us in this country. How often do we take our people out in the parks, in the country sides, mountains and nature parks? May be we do not appreciate our country as much because we are boxed in.
Let’s not take our country for granted. Our country is a master piece designed by God to reveal himself to us. His blessings for us in this land are worth exploring. I challenge you to travel far and wide within Kenya and celebrate the Lord who made our country. He planted us Here, for his good pleasure and purpose.
While we complain about much in our country, there is so much to thank God for and praise him for. When we pray ‘Oh God of all creation, bless this our land and nation’…Stop and consider those blessings.
Ask the church to share what they are grateful for…..
It is easy to think that the peace, development and prosperity in this country is as a result of our hard-work, or even good leaders, or good education. But Good land is a gift from God. But like Israel, our song is if the Lord had not been on our side, oh Kenya, where would we be……have we not seen nations destroyed right around us? God is the ultimate land lord. His goodness in our land, peace and prosperity and beauty should draw us to worship and pursue him. Then sings My soul…How great thou art.
2. Our Land is training ground for Obedience.
Joshua reminds the children of Israel to obey the laws they had received closely from Moses. Obedience to God’s law was the condition for entering the Promised Land and also their continued enjoyment and occupation of it. In keeping their part of the covenant relationship, while God gave them the land they in-turn were to make ethical choices and live in obedience to God’s law. As a Father to a son, God had given Israel Land and now Israel was to give their whole hearted obedience to God. The Land also gave them context for obedience. Their occupation of the land was the measure of their obedience.
They were to guard that turning against God, in disobedience, would begin their painful journey out of the Promised Land. Their obedience was to show their ultimate loyalty to their God. In Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 15-19 lists clearly the blessings should they obey and the curses should they disobey. They were to guard that they do not turn to foreign gods
God in his wisdom chose Kenya as the best training platform for our obedience. He has determined that the challenges we go through, the lacks we have and the inadequacies are the best environments for us to learn obedience. Our Laws, our cultures, our systems, our freedom of worship all add up together as a training ground for our obedience to God.
According to his grace, he has apportioned and assigned each one his training ground. Sometimes we are too quick to run out of the training ground. For our young people, The land of opportunity is not only in the West, Kenya is equally a land of great opportunity.
Our obedience is also seen in how we engage in the work of stewardship and live in harmony to the laws of the land. We are therefore to practice divine tenancy. We will be accountable to the opportunities, resources, gifting and other things God has placed in our hands. When you don’t pull your weight, the whole nation suffers.
Question: What do you do when you see someone littering, throwing garbage out of the windows, carelessly?, what is your contribution in the stewardship of this land?
But also the warning of foreign god’s, while we embrace technology and developments from the West, we must be aware of the small devils and small gods they come with. Foreign gods bring curses on our land.
Did you know the round shape of the African mud hut, not only is simple and sturdy, but encouraged community by encouraging people to be in a circle, no one was in a corner or another room. No one would be in the hut without you knowing. This may not be the case with some of the modern housing developments, it is very possible to live in a house without noticing others today.
3. Our Land is the Training Ground for LIFE Relationships
In allocating the land to the tribes of Israel, God provided that they would enjoy the fruit of the Land by each tribe using the resources within their region to share with others. Every culture and people make up the uniqueness of our Kenyan culture. It calls for harmonious existence and sharing of our resources. The oil in turkana, the coconuts in coast, the fish in lake Victoria, the potatoes in central, the maize in Eldoret, milk in Kericho and meat from maasai are all ingredients of the special Kenyan dish. Our taste is seen in how we are able to share and use the Land God has given us to work for us.
Selfishness and mistrust destroy our nation and rob us the joy of enjoying our land fully. Some fears we have of other cultures. Build as a Kenyan, study as a Kenyan, marry as a Kenyan, share what each people have to give.
IF you stop to consider, Ethnicity is biblical, God ordained every tribe and language, what is unbiblical is ethnocentricity, where we think other tribes are inferior to others.
God’s intention for Kenya is that every tribe is a gift of the other- Think about it, If you were to look for the best Mech, best business men, where would you find them?
Can you – Identify some redemptive gifts from the various cultures in Kenya.
Study questions (Read Ps 148)
Write a short Psalm of about 5 verses about the land of Kenya and read it out to each other. Include certain places by Name.
What areas of faith/discipleship are we challenged most as Christians in Kenya?
What are typical attitudes we have held towards other cultures and people- Share and pray in repentance
Can you identify some redemptive gifts in the cultures represented in Kenya.
Intermarriage- share those in your family who have married from other cultures. How is