It is a well known Bible truth that God, at some point, ceases to listen to a nation or people’s repeated cries for mercy, if such cries are not accompanied by practical commitments to change.
Liberians are well known for begging; begging for everything and wanting it free. We want free things for free – with no strings attached. We want them without any strings of responsibility or accountability. Free mercy, free healing, free deliverance, free prosperity, free everything, but without any string of commitment to anything in return.
In as much as God takes pleasure in giving things out freely, sorry to say, but He is not in the business of dashing out free things like that. God’s mercy, for example, is meant to be received responsibly and accountably.
This is not a pleasant thing to say, but our fast and prayers will yield no better results if we, as a nation, keep coming to God with lists full of what we want, but without a single list of practical commitments regarding what He wants. God Himself has things that He wants from this nation… all of which are meant for our own good. Generations in the Bible that were repeatedly faced with dire situations of vulnerability as a result of their own unrighteous or ungodly attitudes, understood very well that continually coming to plead with God for His mercy, without putting any practical commitments on the table was an effort in futility – because, there is a point at which God does not act or intervene any more…until He sees practical signs of change. Lets read the below verses of scripture carefully.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”(Jonah 3:1-10).
It was not only the fast or prayer of Ninevites that God saw; He also saw their turning. They knew that violence was one of their national sins and they turned from it.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”(II Chronicles 7:14)
Every nation knows what type of wicked ways they have. Every nation knows its national sins. God is not asking for human, animal or material sacrifice; He is asking for a change in behaviors, mindsets and attitudes.
Gone are the days of free mercy without responsibility or accountability. I am sorry to say, but it’s over. We have lost our “babysitting” sympathy; it’s out the window; there will be none for us anymore. The time to grow up has come – and it begins now with our relationship with God.
Most Leaders of the Church know very well that fasting and praying can never replace the aspect of “turn from their wicked ways”. Even if God decides to intervene (which I believe He will and is doing) in this deadly rage of Ebola, Liberia remains highly vulnerable to other threats because the aspect of “turn from their wicked ways” is still not being fully addressed. It is only when a nation or people’s heart is inclined towards righteousness (doing the right things for the betterment of its people) that God blesses them with the capacity and ingenuity to fight off and overcome anything that comes to threaten their wellbeing.
Again, I don’t mean to discredit the intensive prayer efforts that we, the Church, have been leading, but our cries for God’s mercy and healing are all now subject to putting forth what can be called a practical National Attitude and Behavioral Change Commitment, that if we like, we can call Liberia(ns) Attitude and Behavioral Change Commitment. Cognizant of our national sins, what practical changes in attitudes and behavior are we prepared to begin making in our national life as citizens that God can see, to demonstrate our sincerity to move away from these sins; in exchange for national healing, deliverance and a higher degree of divine protection from such deadly threats like Ebola and future threats like Organized Crime? Most generations in the Bible that stuck it through with God and enjoyed His blessings made national commitments (they struck deals with God). These commitments are not for God’s benefit, but for ours, our children, children’s children and generations unborn.
I believe it is the will of God at this time that leaders of the Body of Christ begin what can be considered urgent discussions on outlining what our national sins are (although they are not hidden); and what practical changes in behavior, attitude and mindset the nation can begin making. Having done this, the nation should be informed, well taught on the national benefits of this and rallied into making this commitment. Our commitments would have to be practical and binding on all Liberians, with those who will choose to ignore such commitment be left to bear their own guilt and sins before God. It’s about time that the innocent no longer suffer with the guilty (although at this time we are all generally guilty). This process can be climaxed by a National Attitude and Behavioral Change Commitment Service… as was done for the National Fast & Prayer, at which time the nation can once again present its plea for divine deliverance, healing, protection and prosperity. Our commitments can later be watched over by a Council of credible, wise, God-fearing and spirit-filled Leaders that should relinquish their attachments to all forms of political sways to serve the Liberian people without politics.
Many may not realize this, but Liberians are not only tired of suffering, but are also hungry to cooperate in making whatever required changes before God that will better their lives. They are however much more hungry for an exemplary and credible (be it political or spiritual) leadership that can help them unshackle from their apparently unending circle of bad behavior in which they feel entrapped.
Let the carnage of this virus be the birth pains out of which can emerge a better Liberia; which we, at a later stage can present to God as a present of our appreciation for all He has done for our generation.
God is an extremely faithful God; He honors commitments. He does so over and over in our personal lives and can do so in our national life. If we can muster the courage to make this national commitment, we can be sure to see this carnage of Ebola brought to a speedy end, much sooner than we ever thought or imagined.
I am pleading with all members of the Body of Christ and Liberians in general to see the wisdom of this counsel and join their voices in supporting this call for such national commitment.
We stand by to provide further insight and support towards this process if called upon.
Frey Bedell is founder and executive director of Christ-Centered Ministries and Fit To Rebuild. He can be reached on 0777318444 / 0886920920