Sermon Series: The Blessing
Bless this Our Land and Nation– The People
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. J.F. Kennedy.
Our Nation today faces the challenge of Patriotism, which has been skewed for political affiliation, tribal inclination or social class. Patriotism is more than the tribe I come from, the party I belong to, the football team I support or the county I come from. Patriotism is not to stand by the president, but to stand by the Nation.
Patriots are those who believe that their land is a gift from God, worth defending to death. To defend the country is to defend our families, our property, our future, our freedom and sovereignty.
In this month of October, we take a journey through the colors of our flag in this sub series – Bless this Our Land and Nation
Patriotism is not separate, distant or disengaged from our faith. The question is not “Am I a Christian living in Kenya, nor am I a Kenyan who happens to be a Christian?
But the right question is how is my Christianity influencing Kenya? How is Kenya Influencing my Christianity?
When God made Adam in the Garden of Eden, He established a special relationship between Man and the soil from which man came from. He was to care for the land as the land was to care for him. The land was empowered by God to bear, nurture and care for man and rest him in death. The Land, in which we are born, therefore matters to God and thus should matter to us, especially the church. Our Nation is not just a place we go through as we journey to heaven, but a means to shape the quality of our faith in God that will get us to heaven. Kenya therefore is our gift from God, established and founded by God himself entrusted to us, to raise us as we steward it and therefore it is worth fighting, defending and dyeing for.
The church is called to love their country by being the prophetic voice of God over the land, by passionate engagement in its stewardship and by earnest prayer for it’s people. We are Blessed to Be a Blessing.
Je Unajivunia kuwa Mkenya. (Stand for the National Anthem- First Stanza.) Today I focus on the People of Kenya.
As God was curving out his people and establishing Israel as His chosen people and His Holy Nation, The Ten commandments were given to the Israelites in Exodus 20 as a constitution that would not only Identify and separate them from the rest of the Nations but build them as an example of how a Nation under God ought to run. (An image of Christ and His church- One Nation under one God). After God rescued them from over 400 years of slavery in Egypt, they were a confused lot of people without leadership, legacy and laws of their own. 400 years in Egypt-They had forgotten their origins of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they had forgotten the Joseph- They had learnt a language not their own, they had worshipped god’s not their own, they had built governments and cities not their own. The 10 commandments therefore are a significant mark and start for Nationhood building. They were not just written to people but a Nation.
Indeed despite many critics, the Ten Commandments have formed the back bone of many established constitutions around the world. The Ten Commandments were written to God’s people concerning their nationhood and therefore should apply significantly to us as the Church and how we relate with our Nation. Let’s turn now and learn from these commandments again as written in Exodus 20:1-17 (Read together-Men vs 1-11, Ladies 12-17)
As I said earlier, Today I want to address us not just as Kenyans or Christians in Kenya, but Christians who influence Kenya and Kenyans who Influence Christians. As we reflect on the black color of our flag- I want to talk about the People of Kenya who make up the Nation. My Thesis today is Simply captured in the scripture Ps 33:12, Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord, Whose people he has chosen as his inheritance’ Allow me to share 2 Principles from this passage.
The First is Nationhood begins and ends with God
This simple statement is profound in establishing a true sense of patriotism for us as believers. The opening of these commandments is very important. Vs 2.
God firmly declares his ownership and Lordship over the children of Israel. Unlike any other country, the struggle for their independence was purely the act of God. God initiated, God fought for them and God preserved them so that they can belong to him. This act of deliverance from slavery is the same act that Jesus did for us when we as believers put our faith in Him. Our Nation hood as believers is not just defined by the colonial struggle for independence and human effort but the fact that Jesus paid for our freedom in his death not only to usher us into his kingdom, but to represent his Kingdom in Kenya. This is not to dishonor or disregard those who fought for independence, but a higher calling to honor the God who truly grants and gives freedom to be his people. As Kenyans our independence was and is ultimately the act of God.
Therefore our independence and sovereignty as a nation is not an accident, or just the result of men’s bloodshed, lest we venerate them, but the act of God so that we can live for Him. Our freedom, space, riches of this land are so that we can worship and live for God. In the same way our being Kenyan therefore is not an accident, but the act of God. As, scripture puts it in Acts 17:26-28. (Read)
We fulfill the purpose of our nationhood in our worship of the one true God. You are not a Kenyan by accident, Your lineage may be broken and skewed, you may be of the largest or smallest tribe, or whatever divide of the equator, God in his wisdom brought Kenya to independence with your lineage as part of it, and ultimately you in it and part of it for this one purpose- so that they may worship Him.
We must not miss the divine intention, they were rescued from slavery purposely not just to rebuild new things and grow but to be His people. Therefore the commandment of worshipping other God’s was very serious, and amounts to treason. It is therefore right to acknowledge to which God we sing the National Anthem,- Oh God of all Creation.
Our Christian engagement in the Nation therefore is to bring all things under one head who is Christ. We are to bring all structures, governance, politics, environment, business, infrastructure and all our work under the Lordship of Christ. The way a Christian goes about politics, social justice, business and all other endeavors is different from a non believer, because all we do now is as unto the Lord. Godliness therefore becomes the measure of our Nationhood.
Just as the children of Israel, their freedom was to lead them to the worship of the one true God. And the Lord was sure to follow up to this purpose, whenever their hearts strayed from worshipping him Him, the nation suffered. Indeed, history records many times they forgot the Lord and turned to other gods, They were scattered, exiled again, they became sick, there was war and poverty and were stricken.
Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord. As a nation, scourge and pain is always the result when we abandon the purpose of our existence. The call for the church to lead in repentance prayers is therefore very important. Indeed the Nation, that acknowledges God alone, will prosper and is blessed. That starts in the church, our families and societies. Godliness in the home is the surest foundation for patriotism.
(Read 4-7) Indeed, watch what happens to countries, families and societies that have abandoned the one true God for other gods.
God established the Sabbath for the Nation of Israel for this purpose, as you go about your weekly business, don’t be enticed by any other gods, don’t be fooled that your existence depends on your hard work or reverence to your government, don’t be fooled by the semi-gods that will arise as experts in medicine, technology, education, and science…They don’t make things grow, they don’t guarantee you peace, – But remember, stop to remember the Lord alone is our God, to whom all things hold together. Again watch what happens in a nation that has obscured the day of the Lord for worship, What happens to a family, society, Nation that obscures the day of worship? Europe and West- Prosperity that does not satisfy, Existence that has lost its meaning. Despite being super powers, rich, they have some of the worst human deficiencies seen in careless deaths, suicides, depression, addictions, and other forms of depravity.
But secondly: Nationhood is built on the sanctity of the people.
Having Identified Himself as their God, God also declares that they are His People. His people not only meant that He is their God, but that every one of them belongs to God. No one had the right of ownership or Lordship over another. When God made man he alone reserves the right of ownership. This then is the sanctity and dignity of every Human being, made in his image, for his purpose and pleasure.
It means that if we look at another, we have no standard or right to treat any one as less of a human being than ourselves. Our coexistence is governed then by this sanctity- that only God reserves that right and measure, yet he has divinely chosen that all are equal before him and have met all his standards to be called human beings. To violate this sanctity, goes not just against another person, but against God as well.
Sanctity is to acknowledge the other as an equal person, it is inhuman not to take notice of another human being next to you, say Hi, and acknowledge not assume as though an insect or animal is next to you e.t.c
Let’s explore this sanctity- The next set of commandments draw from this sanctity, how then should we relate as fellow citizens in Kenya.
The Sanctity of Lineage- It is no surprise that God begins with honoring our father and mother. No one chooses this for another but God. The smallest unit of a Nation is the family, if there is no honor for the family there is no honor for the nation. How then do we cultivate honor, acknowledging the lineages before us. When our parents are dishonored, we suffer shame and short unfulfilled lives. When we dishonor our parents things die pre-maturely. Men your marriage will die prematurely if you have not honored her parents. Young people we will not go far if we have left our homes and parents in dishonor.
The Sanctity of Human LIFE- Though shall not Kill, You cannot get away with Murder because you have treaded on God’s territory. Only God has the right to take our lives. A nation of unquenched murder and bloodshed will not see God’s blessing. Revenge, Anger and Wars only feed into each other and the ultimate destruction of a Nation.
The Sanctity of the Body– You must not commit adultery. Sexuality is the territory God defined that one individual can become one with another. He defined this context limited only in marriage. Sex is a divine engagement between Man and Woman Under the blessing of God in Marriage. Adultery and indeed all sexual engagements including homosexuality, trans-sexuality fall outside this commandment -violates this fidelity of three, God, husband and wife. A nation is destroyed when this sanctity is violated. The church then must be the example, not a hint of sin should be among you, for how will the nation judge us. Watch what happens to a nation, people, society or homes that are infested with Adultery- Dysfunctional and broken societies and ultimately the Nations.
The Sanctity of Stewardship- It is God who ultimately gives people the right to own. God ordained that rightful ownership will be limited to reward from hard work, and good will from another man, all else amount to theft. Money you did not work for or receive as a blessing will not build you but destroy you. A nation, organization, family, society founded on theft suffers God’s wrath. The ailing cases of land grabbing and property loss is a vicious cycle that the church must break. As a Nation we are called to build and acquire all things in honesty.
The sanctity of Truth– You must not tell a lie against your neighbor. Only God is the Truth, everything else is relative. Only God who is all knowing has the right to determine what is true and what is not. To lie and especially lie about another is to enter this territory of calling or saying something about another that God has not said thus it is not the truth. We must then be careful that we do not call someone or something what God has not called him or it, that amounts to a lie. Speaking ill of others, calling other tribes names, insulting others, violates this Sanctity. A nation built on lies will crumble. Lies at the Judiciary, parliament, media, and among our politicians have destroyed this nation. A home founded on lies will equally fall.
The Sanctity of Fulfillment- Only God truly fulfills. God has ordained what shall fulfill every man. When you covet another man’s or what is not yours you discount the fulfillment God has given you and discount the fulfillment God has given others. It is only God who defines what is His, mine, theirs, ours to fulfill us, to covet is a violation. That wife is his, not yours, that Husband is his not ours, He has ordained that it is my wife and my child and my house and my car that will fulfill me and give me pleasure in him, Not your child, your house, your wife, your car, your job e.t.c. We must be content with what God has given us. A nation that is not content in what God has given them to fulfill them will crumble, A family, organization, or society that keeps coveting, sucks itself in unending self destruction.
As we celebrate the People of Kenya- We must remember where we draw our Nationhood from, It draws from God, We are called out to worship him, there shall be no other God before him, But also we are called to acknowledge the sanctity of every human being. To see every Kenyan as God sees them and respect them as members and co-citizens with us.
Lets pray- The National Anthem.