“Oh, how I pray that Malawi will see “the LORD high and lifted up…” even through the death of our beloved President (the late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika). Let us not question God’s purposes. He is the LORD and He answers to no one. He does whatever He pleases for He is the LORD! Rather, let us (in faith) say with Job, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). AMEN!!”
That was how we ended our discussion yesterday in a post which I entitled, “In the Year That King Uzziah Died…” – Part 1 of My Reflections on the Death of Malawi’s Third President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. I decided to do these posts because I believe that times of great tragedy and loss like the one that we are going through now as a nation, provide us with wonderful opportunities for deep, serious and penetrating reflection, soul-searching and evaluation of our priorities and the orientation of our lives. Tragic times like these, as unpleasant, hard and painful as they are often special gifts and conduits of blessing from our gracious Lord who does all things well. The LORD often orchestrates and uses such tragic events to shape us into the kind of people that He wants us to be and to fulfill His purposes in/through us to His glory.
In this post, I would like to consider another important truth in Psalm 118:8, which calls us to place our trust, fix our hopes and focus our eyes on the LORD God. Yesterday, I pointed how “the LORD God used King Uzziah’s death to show (Isaiah and the people of Israel), His great power and magnificent glory which is far better!” And “in revealing His power and glory, the LORD was showing His grace and mercy towards the people of Israel.” Once Isaiah had seen the glory and grace of the LORD, the total orientation of his life changed. He kept his eyes on the LORD. There was no one else to turn to. King Uzziah was dead and the LORD God alone was Isaiah’s and Israel’s hope.
This is what Psalm 118:8 was intended to teach us: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Perhaps there is no better time than now for us all to examine ourselves and see where we have been placing our hopes and trust as a nation. Judging from people’s comments on social media and elsewhere on the internet, I think it would be safe to conclude or at least ask the question whether or not Malawi as a nation had put all her eggs in Bingu’s basket instead of the LORD’s. Could it be that much of the anger and frustration with the late President Bingu wa Mutharika could be a direct result of misplaced hope and trust? I wonder.
Because the LORD God is the King of kings and the LORD of lords, glorious, majestic and in a class of His own, the Scriptures tell us that He is very jealous for His glory. Could it be that perhaps the LORD wants us as a nation to grapple with this reality? As a nation, we have a history of making idols and gods of our leaders. Consider with me for a moment how people feared and revered our first President, His Excellency, the Late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda to whom we affectionately gave the title, Ngwazi (Chief of chiefs). After him came former President, His Excellency, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, affectionately known as Atcheya (the Chairman – though not as exalted as Ngwazi, but nevertheless carries the same connotation in practice). Then came another “Ngwazi” our third President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.
As a nation, we must confess that we naively placed too much trust in each of these men to the extent that they became our make-believe gods. Ironically, we pride ourselves as a God-fearing nation in principle. But I am afraid that we may not be in real practice. Or at least the foundation of our fear of God is quite shallow and shaky. Our roots may not be very deep when it comes to having the true reverential fear of God. We seem to easily be swayed by our leaders and carried away by them (their power, rhetoric and/or temporal achievements) to the extent that we begin worshipping them.
This is quite ironic especially when one takes into account the fact that the majority of the population of Malawian is Christian and that many of them have at one time or another sang in their churches, homes or Bible Study groups the popular praise song, Palibe Ofanana Ndi Yesu (There is No One Like Jesus). Furthermore, the Bible is very clear that the LORD God is in a class of His Own. He has no equal!
Consider these few passages of Scripture with me as we conclude:
Exodus 15:11, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Exodus 34:14, “For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…”
Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD; that is My name; My glory I give to no other, nor My praise to carved idols.”Isaiah 45:5-7, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
Isaiah 48:11, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
The list could go on and on, but I think the point is well made: the LORD God is a Jealous God! He will not give His glory to another (whether President or not). The LORD God is no respecter of persons.
Two Concluding Thoughts:
First, I sincerely hope and pray that as we mourn and reflect on the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, we will humbly come before God confessing our sins before God as a nation for giving to mere men that glory which He alone deserves. We need to repent of this sin and seek forgiveness from the LORD through Jesus Christ.
Secondly, I sincerely hope and pray that the current President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Joyce Mtila Banda will be careful not to rob the LORD God of the glory that is due to Him alone! I plead with you Mrs. President to resist that temptation. I am proud that you are a professing Christian. Praise the LORD! As a committed Christian and follower of the LORD Jesus Christ, I trust that you will not let that happen for your own good, for the good of the nation, but ultimately to the glory of the LORD God Most High who is the King of kings and the LORD of lords! He Alone deserves to be worshipped!Until next time, may the LORD impress these truths deeply in each of our hearts.