Text: Isaiah 1:2-20
A family that prays together stays together- so the saying goes. This is one of the phrases used by our deputy president during the 15th National prayer Breakfast that was held recently at Safari Park Hotel organized by parliament.
But among many critics – a blog by Mzalendo Kenya comments
In Kenya, only those who prey together stay together. Kenyan politics is such that people who were once enemies become very good friends very fast for their convenience so that they can continue to eat their share of the Kenyan pie.
Another critic a Christian leader in this country recently on media- commented that the Prayer breakfast is but a good PR by the government, to find good reason for a sumptuous meal- because there are no tangible results from these prayer breakfast, instead he commented that they should fast and use that money to feed the poor in the country.
There was also a picture going round once in the social media- making fun of the western leaders at a meeting to solve the food crisis in the county, yet the amount on the food on that table….was ridiculously enormous.
Corruption and Bribery have for a long time found a safe haven in our country. That African saying is true “A fly thrives in manure’ irritating insects would not be around if there was no rotting substance to attract them.
As a typical Kenyan family gathers to share a meal? Have you ever considered how Corruption has become so much a part of our lives, Could it be that even the food we eat is as a result of some corruption somewhere. What should we expect as a Nation?
Eric Wainaina sung about this and says ‘Nchi ya kitu kidogo, ni nchi ya watu waroho’
Today we begin our first study on Mkenya Halisi and we are looking at corruption and more specifically the scourge of corruption not just at the top government positions but in our daily walk as Christians. My Thesis is taken from that passage
Proverbs 6:16-19- There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying toungue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devices wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community
Corruption is simply the lack of integrity or honesty or the use of position of trust for dishonest gain. This is not just a political or a social problem but a deep spiritual problem. Corruption is truly a sense of discontentment in what God has given us and allowing greed to consume us.
But more importantly, what does corruption do to our faith? How does God respond to a Corrupt Nation? What are we to do as believers in this context?
Turn then with me to our key text Is 1:2-20 – A harsh address to a corrupt Nation.
Isaiah speaks on behalf of God about the Southern Kingdom of Judah, a time when the Nation of Israel had split into the Northern Kingdom – Israel, and the Southern Kingdom known as Judah. The Northern Kingdom had sinned greatly against the Lord and so was the southern Kingdom heading the same direction.
God brings charges against them because they had sinned and rebelled against their God. They had broken their moral and spiritual covenant with God. As a result is that Judah was punished for their rebellion they were later conquered by the Assyrians who plundered their land and also much later they were conquered by the Babylonians who destroyed the temple in 586 B.C. To be conquered by foreigners was considered the worst kind of judgment.
Please consider these words seriously as God speaks this to the Church, the remnant of His people in this country today. Verse 4 summarizes it
But really what is the Core of Corruption-
Corruption is truly the abandonment of God as our true master and sustainer of lives. When we begin to define new boundaries of contentment for ourselves outside what God has ordained for us. Especially when we try and Lord it over others- When we use others for our selfish gains.
Corruption is the result when God is not at the Centre. As scripture puts it “everyone did what was right in their sight”. You can be sure that the result is always sin and destruction.
A Corrupt Society or People invite God’s Wrath: God’s wrath is not just punishment- but God’s wrath is simply when God ‘checks out’ on you. If we are sustained by His mercy and Goodness which are new every morning- Imagine a time that he withdraws his mercy and goodness. The result is godlessness and what we see in Rom 1: 18-32
As believers, Corruption is a break awaing from the covenant we have with our God. Any time we resolve to corruption we disown God as our master, our provider and our sustainer. We really are saying ‘God you are not enough for me!’ You can be sure we invite God’s wrath- Verse 5
What are some Consequences of Corruption in a Nation
A Corrupt Economy– Vs 7-8 Pain a picture of a plundered Nation. Though you have so much potential, so much resource it will be like what God says in Haggai – You plant but do not harvest, you put in your pockets but it’s never enough. The Lord dislikes those who gain by others losing- using dishonest scales and making a kill of God’s people.
In 2003, Kenyans paid an average of 16 bribes a month to get on with their daily lives; to pay for services that should be rendered for free. Joseph Kinyua, PS at Ministry of Finance, predicted that the country would lose 25-30% of the country’s budget to corruption; that is about 270 billion Shillings during the 2010-2011 financial year. This is equivalent to 10 Thika road projects or another SGR. We imagine that little bribe we give on the streets or the road is not much of a big deal, collectively we are doing great damage to our country.
Again as you eat together as a family- If your children asked you how you acquired …would you honestly say ‘God has provided.’ How do you- Teach our children to fear God in the home- do you hoard Pirated CD’s, Stolen toys, Forged Certificates and credentials.
The church should be first in line to stand against these charges. How we go about our businesses and lives should be devoid of corruption. Instead we seek that God would be the Centre of our incomes and expenditures. How about you? If you looked around your house- Are you eating corruption with your family and expecting godliness?
A corrupt Society- Verse 9-10, speak of Sodom and Gomorrah, you remember the wrath of God that befell them because of corrupt relationships. Relationships that are built on lies and sexual perversion invite the wrath of God. Unfortunately this scourge is also very serious in the church. Families started or built upon the foundations of a lying tongue. Like I said, the honor for families is eroded by such lies. We will soon get into families that eating together is like eating like politicians- we are not too sure if they are with us or against us, if they are my real flesh and blood or if they are really my children? A meal full of doubt.
A Corrupt Temple: Verse 11-16, perhaps scares me the most.
It is extremely dangerous to try and Corrupt our faith, by trying to bribe God. God warns against Outwards acts of piety and religious activities that bring about death in our worship and faith. When we get to the point where we think we can be corrupt in our worship, when we extend our bribe to God? Trying to buy blessings from God with an outward pious outlook, but inwardly our hearts are far from God. As scripture says in another place- They worship me with their lips but their hearts are far away from me?
Could it be that the blessings of this community are withheld because of Corruption in our lives as believers? Could it be that our sacrifices and worship are ‘meaningless’ before God. It scares me to think that we would be here as a church, but God’s has checked out- His heart and presence no longer delights in our gathering or prayers to him. We can’t bribe God.
It is not wonder that at some point even the temple was destroyed. Where corruption prevails among the people of God, even our places of worship will be plundered by foreigners.
Look around and see churches that have been turned to business centers….the Span will not be that long. The history in most cases is when worship was corrupted, the church leadership was compromised or when our hearts simply became cold.
But there is Hope: Verse 18-20
Crimson was the color of a deep red permanent dye, and it’s deep stain was virtually impossible to remove from any clothing. God still extends mercy to us as a Nation. God extends this invite to us as a Nation, to come to the real prayer breakfast meeting.
If my people who are called by my name….What shall we do? What do I do with what is corrupt- To some God – says
- Go burn all idols/bridges to corruption- Stop breathing life to them. Reject former idols.
- Burn the memories- Clean up your past- Clear your life of things acquired through corrupt means. Books, magazines, technologies that take you back there?
- Reimburse all debt- Pay back what you took from the world, confess past faults, and Come clean. Like Zachaeus commit to make things right.
- Let the dead bury the dead- There are some things that feel like they need your attention for the last time- Just walk away and see that they will stop on their own.