Monday, November 22, 2010

Christians confronting their Culture: Violence in the city

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed,  and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. 
(Habbakuk 1:2-4

These words  of perplexity  and anguish  come from the soul of  the prophet Habakkuk, as he surveys the contemporary scene  in  Israel.
Historically,  the nation  is being  invaded by the Babylonians. The time is somewhere between  609 – 598 BC  - the verge of the fall  of  Jerusalem and the Southern  Kingdom.
Habakkuk is disturbed by the fact that  his  nation is  godless. God seems to be doing nothing  in Israel, and that  fact is seen primarily  in the absence of law and order … “the law is paralyzed and justice never goes forth …”
Pastor Nsenduluka Kapambwe - Pastor of the Grace Reformed Baptist Church

Last week  my colleague and fellow pastor,  Nsenduluka Kapambwe, pastor  of the Grace Reformed Baptist Church  was brutally assaulted  by  thieves  in his home at night. In that same week my neighbors in Windhoek West  had the same experience! I know far too many people from  all areas of Windhoek  who  have had  the same experience.
The words of the prophet Habakkuk are haunting us: “The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted’.

By now it is clear   that the police and the law courts are  not coping with criminals.  The  prisons are overcrowded.
The problem is not  necessarily the police. I know  that many police officers  are  professional  and committed people.  It is not  necessarily the  law system that has gone wrong, although  the law struggles to mete  out effective  punishments  that would deter  criminals  from pursuing their vices.
The problem is that the average citizen in Namibia is becoming more and more godless!  


God’s response to the prophet  Habakkuk  is very sobering. He  tells Habakkuk that   He will send the Babylonians  as His instrument of punishment  upon the godless  nation of Israel.    
You read it right!   You might struggle  to  believe it.  Habakkuk certainly struggled to believe it but that is what God said, and this is what God did!  In 587 BC the Babylonians finally  took the city of Jerusalem and carried its prominent  citizens into exile.
The heart of our problem  here in Windhoek is  that  the  average citizen has become apathetic to truth. When commitment to biblical truth  dies, evil easily flourishes.  
And it did in  Jerusalem!  
And it does in  Windhoek.

What might we expect?

I don’t know, but I  and our congregation – the  Eastside Baptist Church do pray with Habakkuk in Chapter  3:2  Lord … in your wrath remember mercy!


Sykes said...

I have no answer to the 'why' question, no comfort to offer my compatriot, but the most powerful reminder I have heard in the recent past of our heavenly hope;
May the love of God sustain you, brother Nsenduluka. Sykes (Lusaka Baptist Church)

Conrad Mbewe said...

Brother, I was shocked when Kapambwe sent me the SMS about the assault and the theft. I was even more shocked when I learnt the details from one of our elders upon my return to Lusaka. I thought those things just happen in South Africa!!!

Although many will say that this is because of poverty, ultimately it is due to sin in the heart. Why should I forcefully take from my innocent neighbour which he has worked for? Sin in the heart fails to respect the eighth commandment that forbids theft of any kind, and even the sixth commandment that forbids personal injury and murder.

In the light of the above, the solution is the gospel. So, while we look to the state to protect us, they can only medicate symptoms. Jesus alone can heal the heart!


  In the last century, particularly in the in the 1980’s and 90’s the subject of spiritual gifts was hotly debated. John Wimber (1934-1997)...