Namibia desperately needs perspective from the Word of God.
The family , the church and the state - the three major institutions created by God on earth for the benefit of man are in a state of steady decline in Namibia. Our local newspapers regularly bear eloquent testimony to this fact.
There is of course nothing peculiar about that observation. This is the normal state of affairs in the history of a fallen world.
Consider for instance the lament of the prophet Habakkuk in the wake of the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC , as he makes a complaint to God concerning his apostate nation:
"Oh Lord... the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous ; so justice goes forth perverted " ( Hab 1:1-4 ESV )
This sounds so familiar, so up to date - doesn't it ? The law is paralysed ...
In Namibia it often takes years for justice to take its course. For instance,
- The Caprivi dissenters of the attempted 1999 coup, which aimed to separate the Caprivi from Namibia are still being tried in our courts, and are still not sentenced 10 years later! By way of comparison, the trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 22 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany only took from November 21, 1945 to October 1, 1946 - slightly less than one year!
- A widow in my congregation has waited for 7 years to have the affairs of her late husband's estate finalized in court!
- A member of our church who had been working for the Namibian Social Security Commission as a Financial Manager was (we believe) unjustly dismissed from his position during the AVID scandal at the beginning of 2005, in which 30 million Namibian Dollars had mysteriously disappeared. We believe that he had been used as a scape goat. He is consistently and tactically prevented to advance in the exercise of his appeal . Delay tactics by certain lawyers are paralyzing the just course of the law.
Now, it is true that Habakkuk was also complaining to God concerning the matter of delayed justice: "Oh Lord , how long shall I cry for help , and you will not hear ? Or cry to you violence !" and you will not save?" (Hab 1:2)
Whatever the reason for the LORD's delay in justice, it surely cannot be attributed to slackness or inefficiency on God's part. The Almighty is not overworked in the courts of heaven!
What is more, God's omniscient eye sees everything in true and just perspective! The evil that was done in Israel did not escape the eyes of the Lord. In the book of Judges frequent mention is made of the evil that was done by Israel in the sight of the Lord (e.g. Judges 2:11; 3:7, 12 etc). The eyes of the Lord are also continuously on the righteous, and His ears towards their cry (Ps 34:15 cf 1 Peter 3:12)
Furthermore , God's omnipotence spans the earth! 1 Chronicles 16:14 and Psalm 105:7 say that "His judgments are in all the earth". From His heavenly throne and His heavenly courtroom the Judge of all the earth exercises and shall exercise His righteous judgment. When Christ shall come again as Judge, the whole earth will be subjected to Him .
Moreover, God's justice is always on time. In Habakkuk's case he was informed that the LORD was raising up the Chaldeans (or Babylonians) as His instruments of judgment to punish Israel (Hab 1:5- 11) despite the fact that Habakkuk (temporarily) thought that the Almighty might have been seriously mistaken in His choice of 'executive judge'!
This theological fact remains: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just ? (Gen 18:25)
Namibia is found among the nations of the earth, and the God of all the earth is also the God who judges her. Our national wickedness shall not escape His all seeing eye.
As we survey the wickedness of our nation in terms of lack of justice, so many corrupt business practices and so many corrupt politicians and officials, and as we survey the decline of moral values and the corresponding increase of HIV/AIDS ( this is what the newspapers say!) , and as we consider the present powerlessness of the church in the midst of this decay, I am wondering whether God's hand is not perhaps presently heavy on us?
- Can a nation weighed down with sin be redeemed by God? Answer: "Yes He can!"
- Has the church a role to play in arresting the nation’s backsliding? Answer (with apology to President Obama): "Yes we can!"
I would like to attempt an answer to these two questions in my next blog posting