South Africa: Rebuilding the Nation

Last week I blogged on our president Mr Zuma and the judgment of the Lord. This week let me give you a brief outline on what we as a church can do ...besides praying.

Next week Bro. Angus Buchan is having what I think is his last great call for the people of South Africa to gather and pray at a farm outside Bloemfontein. I hope you can go. That is the first part of the well known scripture of 2 Chron. 7 : 14  "if my people....humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways...I will heal their land.".

Prayer of humility and repentance is the starting point. But turning from our wicked ways is the follow up action.  Let me clarify this.  God gave Israel a very interesting set of comprehensive guidelines as to how they were to conduct national affairs as a nation. You can find guidelines on foreign affairs, domestic affairs, economic policy, poverty alleviation, monetary policy, fiscal policy, justice, social relationships, community sanitation, health, war, and on and on....in the commandments that God gave Israel.

What this means is that not only is the Lord concerned about private morality but also national morality.  There are right ways for a nation to conduct itself and there are wicked ways that a nation conducts itself. That is what 2 Chron. 7:14 is about...the nation of Israel needed to turn away from the wicked ways they were running the nation with.

God promised Israel individual prosperity and national prosperity if they follow His ways. Why tie the two together? Well the fact about economics is that the Lord made the earth in such a way that you can only really prosper when people work together and you can only really prosper when the nation is prospering.

There is this common illusion being perpetrated in many churches that all you need to prosper is Malachi 3...tithe! And miracle money comes your way which God is obliged to provide you.  I saw an interesting article in Forbes magazine months ago about the biggest industry in what was the industrial heart of Zimbabwe....Bulawayo.  Factory after factory was empty of industrial production...but filled every Sunday with crowds of people as churches proliferate in empty factories.

I call them "Pastorpreneurs"...fastest way across Africa to start an income producing business for yourself is start a church.  And then preach what people want to hear. Prosperity through the magic of tithing.  They hear that by the millions in Nigeria, Zim, here in SA in Soweto, KZN, Joburg all over the country.  And the poverty and desperation just deepens.

There are actually a vast amount scriptures as I mentioned on how the Lord expects us to set up our economies for prosperity. But for most preachers there is only one main scripture...Malachi 3.

So what I am saying here in my first remarks is that the church here in both South Africa and Africa and for that matter in America is not ready to teach the nation the economic ways of the Lord to turn around our economies to "you shall be the head and not the tail, you shall lend to others and not borrow". But if we do not get serious about the economic and national laws of God and teach them to the nation then we are going under!

So let me progress to other observations and some starting recommendations....

The whole country seems ready to lynch Mr. Zuma and his Gupta associates but there seems to be a deafening silence over the more serious problem of corporate corruption.  From what I gather from the news the Gupta's are being accused of possible R7 billion in questionable financial transactions...yes a lot of money.

But our FIC (Financial Intelligence Center) reported to the national treasury department that last year 9 million suspected financial transactions amounting to R59 billion rand.  And nothing has been done about it.

The Mail and Guardian reported last year that about R147 billion per year was being moved illegally out of the country each year!  Not even Pres. Zuma and the Gupta's are capable of those astronomical numbers. This is corporate and white collar crime on a vast scale of which not one person is sitting in jail for.

This is what the Bible means "wicked ways" as in wicked ways of conducting business. But there is a lot more corporate and financial corruption than that going on...not just government corruption!

But why would the Lord be interested in South African corporate or government crime?

Here is the legal foundation of God's case against South African government and business community leading to national judgment:

South Africa belongs to Jesus and He comes for fruit inspection not only to the government but to corporations and people!

Point 1 :  The entire earth with all its inherent natural wealth belongs to the Lord by right of creation.
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."  Psalm 24:1

Point 2: God has leased His property the earth to mankind to produce a harvest for Him:
"The heaven even the heavens are the Lord's but the earth has he given to the children of men".

And the way that He has given the earth to the children of men is to divide into nations, and set the boundaries and the times and the rulers of nations.

So here is the first point for we Christians of South Africa of all races must agree on in healing our nation:

South Africa does not belong to certain tribes or "original inhabitants" or any other divisive arguments that are being used to take land away. The land belongs to Jesus and He gives to whom He wills and they are responsible to use it wisely.

Second, we agree as Christians that the Lord brought to this land all the people that He wanted here for a purpose. That means we embrace one another as Christians and South Africans and we declare our unity in Christ and we become an example to our fellow citizens and to the world.  We are Christians first, the family of God and citizens of South Africa second.  Our primary allegiance is to the Lord and to each other and our job here is to bless the land and its people and bring them to Christ.

Thirdly we recognize the fact that the Lord has sent us into all the world to preach the gospel and make disciples. That means some are sent into the political world, some into the corporate world, some into the classroom, some to grow food for us.

That means that we have brothers and sisters in all the political parties and all the companies. We respect each others callings. We do not cast aspersions or accusations on those called to different places than us. We expect each other to be ambassadors for Christ where the Lord has placed us and use our lives and witness to advance the Kingdom agenda.

Fourthly: Xenophobia.  The Lord has given us clear instructions as to how He wants us to treat the strangers in our land.
"But the stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Fithly: Understanding our role as ambassadors for God's Kingdom
In the great passage of scripture in 2 Cor. 5: 16-20 Paul makes plain some great truths for us. We are new creations in Christ, we know no man after the flesh. That means we no longer look on each other in racial terms or nationalistic terms. Only Christians can demonstrate that kind of unity to the world.

Further more he says we are now ambassadors for Christ and given a ministry of reconciliation.  But I say to you not only being reconciled to God but an entire ministry of reconciliation that finds a way to reconcile the wealth and poverty gap, the education gap, the racial gap, the labour capital gap, the citizen government gap.

We have warring factions in our nation.  Students are marching on campuses, citizens are marching against government corruption, workers are marching against bosses...
We Christians have Christ ambassadors in all these groups. God has given to us a ministry of reconciliation. Each of you where you are...get God's leading for your area of responsibility!

After our great gathering as a people to pray in Bloemfontein and all over the land then we need to get groups together of Christians in all sectors of society to get creative about ideas and actions for reconciliation and positive plans to put things right in the land so that do it 'God's way".

I cannot give you a long list of things in this blog that I know we can do from scripture principles but just by way of example let me give you an interesting example of the Lord's command about what to do to help the poor:

Lev 23:22  And when ye reap the harvest of your land you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reap, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the strange I am the LORD your God.

Here in plain language is what this scripture is saying....Make work for the poor!

Farming was the main productive enterprise of Israel.  But the Lord said, don't harvest all your field...leave a portion of it for the poor to harvest for themselves.  Today we are so technical and profit orientated that we want to harvest the entire production in the most cost efficient way and then from the profit give to the poor. We like to replace people with machines.

Yes I believe in giving to the poor. In fact Israel had three tithes (not just one, which is why preachers never preach on that) and the third tithe was to be gathered every third year and that was to be given to the poor. I am proud of our social grant system for the 11 million recipients in South Africa.

But the Lord wants us to make work for the poor even if it is not bottom line maximum profit.  How can we do this in South Africa? Well many ways let me give you an examples:
Instead of eating imported chicken refuse to buy it even if it is cheaper. Support South African workers and South African products.  That means we force the supermarkets to label what is imported and what is home produced.  We can create 50,000 more jobs just there.
Buy South African made clothing and shoes.  Even if it is more expensive.  That is what it means to not glean the corner of the field. Give work to the poor even if it costs you more!

Our schools are highly dysfunctional as is our civil service.  We need a revival of repentance in these places where Christian teachers and government workers form prayer groups and pray for fellow workers and encourage to "labour as unto the Lord".  They are working for the Lord, not the government!

And that goes for all of us.  If you take a pen from work that does not belong to you then you are stealing from your company. If you are paid for 8 hours work a day and you work 7 hours you are stealing. 

We must be Christ's ambassadors in the workplace to set standards of righteousness to do more than we are required, walking the extra mile.

So much more I can say on this topic but really folks should we not be organizing ministry conferences where we are giving teaching and testimony on how we can heal our land?  Do we need more sermons?  Do we need more international speakers? Don't we need in this desperate hour of our nation to not only be praying but also to be hearing the voice of the Lord for practical strategies of how to heal our land, how to rebuild our economy, how to bring healing and prosperity to our people, how to more effectively teach our children, grow our food, industrialize our workers and factories, up-skill our workers, how to make our government more effective?

I really believe this is the Lord's nation and He wants a prosperous and blessed South Africa and that we the Church of South Africa have the answers within our people for the problems of the nation.

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