After receiving the instruction to write this book, I was so excited that I expressed to God my determination to write it in seven days, although I finally completed the major draft in nineteen days. Two days later, I was led by the Spirit to listen to one of the messages of Pastor John F. MacArthur, which I’ve previously downloaded to my phone while planning this book. I was actually running late for work that particular morning and was not in the mood to listen to any speech. Besides, I believed I had satisfactorily completed every section of the book and didn’t need any more information. But when you feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to do something, you will be wise to comply.
So, I played the message on my phone and connected to an external speaker, while I prepared for work. And from the moment the pastor started with the message, I was completely mesmerized. It was one of his expository messages on Daniel’s visions and this one, like the others I’ve previously listened to, was rich and insightful.
He was preaching from chapter 10 of Daniel, and the message was so pertinent to this book’s objective that I immediately understood why the Holy Spirit wanted me to hear it.
I’m going to present three short excerpts of the message’s transcription to draw out three vital points that I believe strongly that the Holy Spirit would want every reader to have as a take away from this book.
This message is so important here because it explains the major trap that I’ve seen majority of Africans, including Christians, falling into right now, and which may eventually constitute the greatest challenge to our breakthrough as a people. But perhaps more important, is that there is also an answer to that problem in the message.
And so as Daniel was reading Jeremiah’s prophecy in chapter 9, he came across those two prophecies where Jeremiah says it’ll only be seventy years; and he knew that it had been nearly 70 years since he had been taken captive, and so he began to realize that the time must be coming for it all to end.
… But you know what happened? As we come to chapter 10, what’s the first statement? “In the third year of Cyrus.” Where are we now? Two years later. And you know what? Two years later, a very disheartening and a very discouraging reality has occurred.
You want to know what it is? The people didn’t go back. They were comfortable. They were sufficiently paganized. They were enmeshed in the society in which they lived. They were prosperous. They were absorbed. They were too involved to care about the Promised Land, too involved to care about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, too involved to care about restoring the temple.
The excerpt above is self-explanatory. Daniel believed it was time for his people to return to their promised land in line with God’s revealed plan. But there is a problem: the people have become so used to the land of their captivity that they no longer care about returning home. They have built houses, possibly intermarried with their captors, become imbued with their culture… they have become so comfortable in a foreign land that if feels like home. Returning home to Israel?… they don’t care!
And if there is anything worse than unbelief, it is people not caring. A man who says there’s no God only needs some higher knowledge or a proof, to change their mind. But how do you help a man who is convinced, both in his mind and his heart, that there’s God, but had decided he’s not interested in knowing Him? All you can do is pray for such.
Take a look at our societies today. The average African is fast becoming that man. Everybody just wants to do whatever is necessary to ‘make it,’ not concerned about what becomes of our land in the process. And some will even say that there is no hope for the country/continent; you hear that even from Christians. The bandwagon mentality is growing rapidly; if (or since) you can’t beat them, you join them. And the worst of all is the ‘false contentment’ – just accepting what is and living with it, without half a mind to make it right.
People’s desire for a better Africa is waning; the desire now is for self-accumulation of wealth, in any way possible. The level of criminality and corruption among our law enforcement, academia and politicians is far worse than that of thieves and fraudsters! Unfortunately, so called God’s people are involved! We have become a people who don’t care about ‘right’ again.
Now, you can see why it is not just important, but crucial, for us whom God has given the grace to still uphold our love for, and faith in Africa, to remain hopeful. “God’s Vision for Africa” is a message of hope – hope that our sustained love and passion and commitment to the land are in alignment with God’s plan and purpose for Africa, and so we can rest assured that we will see our desire for our beloved land, in not too long a future from now.
But we must beware the subtle but grievous evil of not caring!
There had been many born in captivity, they didn’t go back. The few that did go back were led by a man named Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel was in the line of David. He had kingly seed. And he couldn’t establish again the monarchy, he just couldn’t pull it off. He was accompanied by a man named Joshua – not the Joshua of old, but Joshua the high priest who was to be their spiritual leader. And when they got back, it took them seven months just to clear the rubble off the temple ground to say nothing of the city. And as they started to try to rebuild the temple, they were opposed, and they were harassed, and they were mocked, and they were scorned, and they were hated; and finally the work came to a halt altogether.
This is the second point from the message: those who try to rebuild will be mocked, harassed, hated, scorned and criticized. The people have become so comfortable and enmeshed in their way of life that they won’t want anybody to disturb them with dreams or vision of a better tomorrow. If that tomorrow comes, so be it. But in the meantime, they don’t care. And when what you do challenges them, as it would, then they will fight back. But as long as you are in God’s will, you will overcome. God has allowed me to experience this and I know how bitter it is; but I am still here, standing strong and empowered to continue, and that should tell you something. Many of those who hated me then are now my students, some openly and others secretly.
Of a truth, the work won’t be easy; but of a greater truth, because God is in it, it will be accomplished victoriously.
Surely he would have longed to go himself, back to the land he loved; but he was utterly unselfish, and he was far too burdened for his needy people to worry about his own desires. And so what he does is what he always does. What does Daniel always do in the midst of a crisis? Pray, always.
The third and final point I want to make from the message is about Daniel’s character and action: Selflessness and Prayer.
Daniel loved his land and would doubtless have loved the opportunity to return home. But he sacrificed his own pleasure for the good of his people. Those of us who claim to love God must be willing to follow similar path, especially knowing we are doing God’s work and our reward will surely come.
And then he prayed, as usual. When he was confused about the situation, he didn’t give up and accept what was; he prayed to God for the way forward and heaven responded.
I want to encourage you reading this, to make this plan of God an opportunity to serve Him, by praying fervently for God’s vision to speak and His purpose fulfilled on time. We must also commit to creating a better society through our good words – we must lead the way. God is not unjust; if we labour, we will reap in due season.
Finally, brethren, I want to reassure you that the words in this book are true. But again, you don’t have to take my word for it; rather, verify these claims on your own. In the words of pastor John MacArthur, “you and I have the benefit of the indwelling Holy Spirit to instruct us as to its truths.”
A change is coming to Africa; the church needs to wake up early and take the wheel of this change. In one of his messages, the servant of God Pastor Myles Munroe of blessed memory, said the church always wakes up late to world developments because of religiosity, and he cited the example of the Internet which the church fought for so long, describing it as a tool of the devil, until the world took over and directed its course in their way. And the church only started fighting for a share of the Internet when it was already late, occupied with corruption.
This – the prosperity of Africa – must not be another example of that. But it’s up to you and me.
I have played my part by writing this book and sharing this vision of God as directed. I pray that God will grant grace unto His people to open their hearts to receive this truth, hold it dear to their hearts, pray with it, and run with it accordingly.
I enjoin you to remember the Children of Israel in the wilderness. God needs the faith of men for them to experience His miracle; and He needs their humility, willingness and obedience for Him to heal their land and prosper them.
The ball then is in our court, Africa. Others may not, but those of us who mention the name of the Lord MUST align our purposes with God’s vision, so that the world may experience God’s love ad breakthrough power through us.
May God’s vision for Africa speak in this its season, and may He bless us and hasten to perform His work in our land in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.