“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne.”
“Cry the beloved country” – AGAIN – our nation is in crisis! A serious moral, political and socio-economic crisis. As your pastor it would be sinful if I did not speak out in this hour, speaking truth to power, and giving guidance to our congregation: What must the Church do?
Last night at midnight, under the cloak of darkness, President Jacob Zuma announced a cabinet reshuffle. He fired Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, and kept poor performing and corrupt ministers – clearly ‘Zupta Supporters’ in his system of patronage. He has made Malusi Gigaga, a corrupt Zupta supporter, the new Finance Minister. Gigaba is known to frequent the Gupta residence in Saxonwald, infamously called ‘Saxonwald Shabeen’. This is the most shameless blatant ‘state capture’ to control the national treasury and further rape the country’s resources. Pravin Gordhan’s response to this extreme act of state capture is simple: The nation must rise up for truth and justice, and organize and mobilize to resist – get on the streets and stop this evil taking over – else we will suffer the consequences.
Those who support Zuma in the name of “remove Gordhan because he protects ‘white monopoly capital’ and works against the radical transformation of the economy”, are blinded and captivated by the ideological defenses of Zupta corruption. Even Julius Malema, the most radical proponent of decolonization and justice for the poor (rightly so), does NOT buy this ideological deception – he fully supports Gordhan and Jonas’ integrity and competent work.
Our nation right now teeters on the edge. This can snowball into serious destruction, or be a turning point for good. How do we think Biblically, and not ideologically, about this situation? (Ideology means a system of thought and argument that justifies certain group interests over against another group – the ‘lenses’ through which we see, interpret and react to reality)
The Biblical idea of crisis is captured in the word kairos: a moment in time in the history of the nation that is a turning point one way or another, depending on our corporate choice. Kairos is both judgement/disaster, and opportunity of God’s merciful intervention, at the same time. We lived through a kairos in 1994 and chose a miracle of peaceful change in SA, defeating evil powers that threatened civil war. We are at the same place again as a nation. What will you choose? Truth or corruption? Good or evil? Action or passivity?
When the foundations of our nation, of our lives, are being shaken, what can the righteous do? King David’s answer is clear: See Yahweh, the Creator-God of the nations, on his throne, still in charge of his universe. Compare Psalm 11 with Psalm 2 and see what the Church must do:
- Not to panic, not be intimidated, not be psycho-emotionally defeated, not get all negative and depressed, and talk ourselves and our nation into a hole, into the hands of the devil.
- But this does not mean that we cannot, and must not, call it for what it is: pure evil. Some Christians bury their head in the sands of ‘positive confession’ believing that to say anything negative (to name, describe, unmask and rebuke evil) is wrong – that is Gnostic belief.
- It means, while we face reality full on, without denial and ideological blindness, at the same time we continually look up to see God on his throne. God is ultimately in charge, though he has delegated spiritual powers to rule over nations. These ‘powers’ become corrupt, as seen or ‘manifested’ in national leaders and governments. God can judge and discipline them.
- It means seeing things from God’s point of view: “Yahweh observes everyone on earth, his eyes examine them, the righteous and the wicked – who love lies, cheating, stealing, violence – which God hates with a passion” (11:4-5) God sees and knows it all. We can pray with his passion, that he exposes and judges and defeats that evil, as David says in 11:6.
- But it also means, we not only reactively pray for the downfall of evil, but we proactively love justice (11:7). We must model and do justice in our circles of influence, in our nation. We must show a different way of being the new South Africa that we all want. What this looks like practically must be discussed and implemented and lived. THIS is collaboration with Messiah to advance his rule of righteousness in the face of ‘the powers’, as in Psalm 2 (God laughs at presidents who chuckle while doing evil, thinking they will get away with it, 2:4).
- Why the above five points on prayer? Because we have direct access to God, the Ultimate Power over nations! To pray is to trust God and live in peace. If we pray for principled leadership, good godly government, as in 1 Tim 2:1f, God will give it to us.
- What more can Christians do? We must live our prayers daily by speaking up and standing up for truth. STOP lying, stop cheating, stop stealing, stop all corruption – expose and challenge it. Confront injustice; shout it out from the roof-tops.
- We can pour out into the streets to besiege parliament in the hundreds of thousand, NOT in the name of a political party, but in the name of Jesus, justice, righteousness, truth. The Koreans and Brazilians recently dethroned their corrupt presidents by occupying the streets with a million people. Mass non-violent resistance and public protest has great power for change in national histories, where injustice gained the upper hand.
- Vote the ANC out of power. It’s not about Zuma per se, it’s about the ANC that has allowed the Zuptas to capture the state for self-enrichment. The ANC, from Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe and all them, must take responsibility. They have lost the right to rule this country. Their credibility is down the drain. Vote them out of power! Don’t vote ANC!
I trust this gives perspective as to a Christian response.
Here is my FaceBook post:
“I call on all people of truth and integrity in South Africa, who love righteousness and justice, who believe God still controls the destiny of nations – the God who can bring either judgement or blessing through wicked or righteous leaders – to pray up, speak up, stand up, march up, and shout from the rooftops, against the firing of Gordhan and his deputy, against Zuma’s shameless blatant ‘treasuary capture’ to further pillage and rape the nation’s resources for his own ends of security and power. The conspiring of evil to hold onto power has played its card, may righteousness and truth defeat it.
If the leaders and people of principle, of truth, of justice (including the Christians) WITHIN THE ANC, WITHIN THE CABINET, WITHIN THE ANC ELDERS & STALWARTS, WITHIN LUTHULI HOUSE, do not stand up right now and confront and discipline and recall Zuma, they will have lost all credibility. NOW is the time, NOW is the hour for them to be counted, to intervene, to put their bodies on the line for the sake of the nation, to stop this naked shameless corruption of power. Pray for the leaders who now step to the fore over the next few days to confront this madness of Zuma, because they could lead us to a better place over the next few years. Above all PRAY, and speak up, and engage in whatever non-violent resistance that can confront the corrupt powers of Zuma and his cronies, his whole system of patronage that he’s built up… MAY IT FALL FLAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS!”