Theme: You shall return to dust!

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Text: “…..Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die….” – 2 Kings 20:1

 

HENRY O. ADELEGAN

 

Days after God assisted King Hezekiah of Judah to defeat the powerful and boastful King Sennacherib of Assyria, when one of His angels was despatched to the camp of the Assyrians and he massacred 185,000 of them (2Kings 19:8-13, 35), God sent the highly revered Prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah on his sick bed that he should set his house in order because he would surely die.

That message made the king distraught hence he turned from the prophet and cried to God because he didn’t want to die. God heard his cries and added an additional fifteen years to him (2 Kings 20:2-6). Eventually, (in 2 Kings 20:21), the Bible recorded that King Hezekiah died and his son Manasseh took over from him.

Beloved in Christ, death is an unavoidable contract that everyone had entered into (Hebrew 9:27). Either it is claimed or rejected, everyone has an appointment with death mindless of age, state of health, wealth, political power wielded or spiritual giftings, except those that are alive at His second coming (Psalms 89:48; cf 1Thess. 4:16-17). Kindly note that everything that had a beginning must surely come to an end (Job 7:1). Nothing and nobody will live or reign in perpetuity!

Like King Hezekiah, virtually every person, chiefly the economically and politically privileged in our land, are willing to do anything to remain here till eternity and continue to enjoy the bliss and comfort of life.

It is consequent on this that lots of local and foreign currencies are expended by political heavyweights on first class medicare across the globe and some are enslaved to spiritual marabouts.

Despite all the futile efforts geared at running away from death, when its time of visitation comes, it rushes in like a fiery wind and visits its victim mindless of palpable fear, struggles, humongous wealth, privileged position in the society, spiritual standing and the retinue of prayer warriors at beck and call (2 Peter 3:10).

One of the messages of today’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a 40 day fasting season, is to remind everyone about the temporality of this world and that “…… dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19) and the expediency of setting our houses in order.

This is suffice to say that we shall all one day return to the starting point of our lives – dust! On Ash Wednesday, the palm-fronds from the previous Palm Sunday are burnt and administered on the forehead of every believer as a reminder that nothing lasts forever – a new cloth will soon become a rag, an agile young boy will soon become a weak old man, a new vehicle will soon end up in a mechanic’s yard, a new house will become outdated, the marriage that is being celebrated today will one day become history, the certificates and degrees that you burnt the midnight oil to have shall be useless and the person in power today blowing sirens all over the place with vaunted immunity will be out of power and office one day (Ecclesiastes 12:3-7).

It is therefore instructive to note that nothing will last forever because man shall return to his creator – “dust thou art and to dust thou shall return” (selah!).

The only thing that will last till eternity is who you belong to (Christ or self), your good works and how you have used your means to impact positively on the society. The responsibility of a wise person is firstly to the society then the family before himself.

Where this order is reversed or altered, the end shall be fraught with regret and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30).

This presupposes the fact that no matter how long you occupy any position or live in this world, one day will come when you shall give account of the stewardship of your time, talents, money, position and work before the Almighty God (Romans 14:10).

It is possible to be ‘smart’ and escape the judgment of the land, pervert justice and buy the right of other people from the Tribunal to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court, but when all ends here and you get ‘there’, there is no retinue of learned silks that can defend you before the Almighty God (Job 9:3).

He will give everyone according to his/her works (Rev. 22:12). If you fire arrow to the sky and cover your body with mortar, the king of this world might turn a blind eye or not even see you, but you can be assured that the King who sits in heaven and has the earth as his footstool (Isaiah 66:1) sees.

At such a time in our country where there is a wide polarity between the rich and the poor, where the dividends of democracy are not evenly distributed, where promises made are shamefacedly broken, where our words are no longer our bonds, where the wickedness of man to man is becoming alarmingly on the increase, where there is endless dumbfounding revelations of financial impropriety amidst other heinous crimes, where security of lives and property majorly in the Northern part of the country are things of the past and there is seemingly none to help out of the prevalent quagmire, God is calling us to the fact that death will come one day and that we shall all give account of our stewardship hence we need to seriously consider our ways and put our houses in order (Haggai 1:5).

This season of fasting is a time for introspection, soberness, re-examination, repentance and change. It is a time for the political cum religious class and leaders to return to God in repentance for their overt and covert acts, schemes and actions; it is a season for everyone to eat the humble pie, close ranks, ask God for mercy and change so that God does not remove their candlesticks (Rev. 2:5).

As you humble yourselves at such a time, take your gaze away from the temporality of this world, engage more in selfless services to God and humanity, be more committed to your oath of office, remain more resolute on love for one another, be more dedicated to charity works, continue to live a life of holiness and maintain peace towards all, the Almighty God shall continue to bless you and make you acceptable before Him when your time is up here, in Jesus’ name

 

Prayer: Oh Lord, give me grace to live a life that is pleasing to you so that when I see you at last, I shall be accepted by you as a child that has lived well in Jesus’ name.