Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered–in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” (Dan 6:8 NIV)
From the month of September through November 2005, my country-Kenya is in a political frenzy reminiscent with electioneering. This time around it is not about electing a new president or members of parliament. It is all about a new constitution where some leaders are rooting for it while others are saying no. The Electoral Commission added fire to the situation when they came up with symbols for the Yes/No vote of either a Banana for yes or an Orange for a no vote. In my view the only real winners will be the fruit vendors and of course the health benefits of proper intake of vitamins by the populace whichever fruit one favors! On a serious note, what really is at stake?
THE LAWS OF THE LAND
To any nation a constitution defines the way a people shall be government and sets legal instrument where by every aspect of life, social, professional, economic or otherwise shall operate. It is for all practical purposes the document that gives legality to a government and its institutions. A nation without a constitution will have a kind of rulebook, written or otherwise to guide it in the business of governance.
The book of Daniel dwells on a huge confederacy that spanned from Ethiopia to Persia and had 127 countries in total. The seat of power of this empire was in a city called Shushan where the reigning monarch sat and ruled over his vast dominion. According to scripture whatever the king decreed and sealed, good or bad, that was law and no man, not even the king could alter it thereafter.
This was the process then in the land of the Medes and the Persians where some captive Jews found themselves in as aliens; having being captured by Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel, among other bright youths ended up in the service of the king and prospered. In due cause, Daniel was appointed chief minister over 120 other ministers of the court of the king. The only difference is that Daniel was a foreigner and a believer of the living God Jehovah; an un-incorruptible man who served both the king and his God without fear or favor. His fellow nobles were uncomfortable with him and conspired against him. The only way to do so was via a constitutional amendment.
LAWS CAN BE ABUSED.
No matter how good a constitution is, time and ever changing life dynamics will eventually cause it to be amended over and over until it becomes so convoluted that the only way out is to write a new law or else a revolution occurs. Those in authority often over time get so insensitive to the needs of the populace and get out of tune to the extend that they tailor the law to suit their own objectives at the expense of the people. This then leads to agitation for change.
In some cases; more so in Africa, those elected end up changing the constitution and laws of the land in order to maintain a status quo. This they do by capitalizing on the ignorance of the masses whom they shepherd to vote in line with the leaders’ wishes.
I am encouraged by Daniel, even though he was a minority vote in his cabinet when his colleagues urged the king to change the rule book on worship; he stood his ground. They thought that they had him cornered because no where else could they find a hold on him apart from the matter of his faith. He was not corrupt, he was not careless on his state functions neither was he morally bankrupt. So the only place to get him is to pass a law against what he believed in.
Thank God for principled people like Daniel, he never missed a step in his service to the king nor failed his God! He was a man of no compromise. After the king had heard the majority and acceded to their demands, Daniel went home and thrice a day prayed to his God facing Jerusalem as was his custom. Something which had been constitutionally decreed should happen only to the king!
Listen, kings are never democratic and are never meant to be. Whatever they decide cannot be easily challenged. Daniel by going against a king’s decree had no recourse of appeal. His detractors had him where they wanted him and wasted no time in reminding the king to apply the law. Now Daniel was highly favored by the king; unfortunately he had passed a decree in haste without reading the long term implication. When the majority sprung their trap, it was too late for the king to amend the law and had Daniel thrown to the lions.
MAN CREATED LAWS FAIL US.
As you read Daniel six, you realize that even though the king’s word was law; he could not change it. Even though he had all authority in the land, he could not save his favored servant. He had him thrown to the den of lions and sealed it with his own signet and those of his nobles as required by law. In shot Daniel’s fate was sealed. None the less the king tried to look for a way to save Daniel but he could not. There was no recourse or clause in the law that he could apply.
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Dan 6:16 NIV)
The king spent the night sullen and waited for morning to see what happens. It is amazing that as he condemned his friend to death due to a technicality in the law; he commended him to his God for salvation, a God whom he had chosen to take his place, yet in a moment of dire need he becomes impotent to save his trusted prime minister.
This shows us one thing that man and whatever he comes up with are limited and full of flaws. The cry from the king was indicative of his limited ability and he realizes that only God is able to deliver David. His early morning dash to the den of lions and anguished calling out to Daniel to know if he was still alive shows also that he indeed hoped for a miracle. He was not disappointed; David was alive! No wound was found on him despite the hungry lions. His God saved him where the laws of the land could not.
OUR GOD CAN.
My fellow Kenyans-and others-as you read this article, you may legally be between a rock and a hard place. Who knows it could be your ‘nation’ has passed a law that is against you, your business or way of life that is divinely provided and you feel cut off and have no where to turn to. For us in Kenya, the new draft constitution is generating a lot of heat and is proofing quite divisive. The cabinet is no longer a unit but split right down the middle. We spoke out for what we wanted and spend billions on it only for whatever was collated to be changed time and again. What we need now more than ever is to focus more on the only one who can deliver us all out of the behemoth that was cloned and crossbred in different places by people with vested interests. Remember that where we can’t our God can.
Your nation in this context could be your employer who may have changed the rule book yet again, which for all intends and purposes, is to defraud you of your livelihood or earnings! I have been in employment where the staff rules have been changed time and again in a lopsided manner to ensure that the organization does not get bogged up with terminal payments when it has to close down. I have believed God always for a miracle and despite the changes, we still get some indemnity!
My word for you is; have no fear! Unless your trust is misplaced; you ought to be as Daniel, connected to your God. He truly faced grimmer things; but he put his trust in God and not the king and God came through for him powerfully. Who do you put your trust in when faced with adversity? Read what the Word of God says concerning trust; here are a few;
O house of Israel, trust in the LORD– he is their help and shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD– he is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the LORD– he is their help and shield. (Psa 115:9-11 NIV)
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. (Jer 17:5 NIV)
Had Daniel trusted his friend the king, he would have ended up as Simba’s dinner.
A FLAWED LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED NOW NOT LATER.
As we continue with referendum campaigns let us have it in our minds that not even a quality constitution – as much as we are striving for one – can give us all the safeguards that we crave for. Daniel surely must have voted against the majority in respect to whom to pray to; God or the king. His actions thereafter indicated clearly that he was for God.
Kenyan’s as we vote come 21st November let us do so with our divine priorities in the right order. I am afraid that the rhetoric coming out of our politicians if they were to be believed in totality we would be long headed into chaos. Yesterdays democrats have now become bitter rivals complete with reversed ideologies.
I am still reading the Wako Draft and much as there is some goodies loaded in it, one sticks out like a sore thumb. Yes, you guessed it: Religious courts – and I am not talking about Kadhis courts; they have been there since independence. This was a matter of voting for or against it and could be argued out in court, parliament or the public domain as to the funding of such a structure.
Introducing Christian, Hindu and Traditional courts etc, was not inspired thought on the side of the Attorney General. In my personal opinion, the AG overreached himself by giving me something I never asked for and never wanted nor will ever use. I am sure that 90 percent of the Christians will not buy into Wako’s idea either. Where else in this world do you hear of having religious courts catering for faiths?
I know only of Sharia courts in Islamic lands which to my understanding are largely funded by Zakat – a form of tithe or tax from the faithful. Maybe Wako and company would have de-linked Kadhi’s courts from the Judiciary’s budget and had it funded directly by the faithful. I am sure no one would have cried foul as is the case now where other faiths believe that they are made to fund for the structures of a constitutionally favored religion. There are other areas in the draft that need re-thinking, re-drafting or outright removing before we can think of enactment.
My prayer is let us all approach the whole referendum issue soberly and without fear, just like Daniel did in his time. He totally trusted God for deliverance regardless of the change of law. I know many have – and are praying daily for the nation not to disintegrate or at worse shed blood. Daniel’s blood was not shed despite the concerted effort by his enemies. I sincerely believe God has heard each and every prayer offered for the nation and will come through for us. But just as Daniel was part of government in a strange land, he took part fully in the political process always doing what is right and proper conscientiously.
LEADERS WHO FAIL TO LEAD SHOULD LEAVE
I am a bit disappointed with denominational and Christian organizational leaders who have chosen to sit on the fence while everyone says something for or against the draft. I am convinced that if something has been seen to be bad, the best way forward is to correct it now and save us the hassles of having to collect a million signatures I order to effect change.
Our Bishops have clearly abdicated their moral responsibility to counsel the flock. My view is; this is a crucial time in our nation, it is not everyday that we have a referendum and after being part of the process from the word go, the last thing I expected the Bishops to do is leave the flock to their own consciences. What will stop believers now from taking their own decisions in respect to sin or other equally weighty matters?
It is a shame for those who have chosen the middle ground of see, hear and say no evil. There is no such thing in the word of God as between the good and the bad; it is either one or the other. Daniel never compromised and lived to tell his story. When Moses in the wilderness was faced with national crises; he drew a clear line in the sands – those for or against God to stand up please! We all know what happened when Kora and Dothan created a problem for him. Moses spoke and the Lord God backed him up. When High Commissioner Edward Clay recently spoke on corruption in Kenya, London backed him. Our Pastors, Bishops and Elders are God’s mandated leaders and He would not forsake them for standing up for justice. But I fear some have been compromised to take a low key stand while the nation burns.
Our spiritual leaders need to repent, re-think and speak out for or against the Wako Draft and not walk a tight-rope that is not there. Kudos to the few who have taken clear stands one way or the other.
TO THE KENYAN CHRISTIAN
We are called to preach the Word in and out of season; whether there are threats or not. The Shepherds of the flock missed it big time this time around. Let us hear what the Lord is saying through HIS Spirit. As the pastors have spoken and said we vote with our conscience; know that we are not alone; the Lord is with us.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18 NIV)
Let us all call on God to remember mercy and forgive us where we did or went wrong; to lead us from the front up to and beyond the referendum. I know one thing for a fact; kings can and do make changes to the laws of their dominions, some quite bad; God however can rescind them! He did with the unchangeable laws of the Medes and the Persian severally by making ways where there seemed to be none!
May the opening stanza of our National Anthem be our cry to Jehovah-Shamah.
O God of all creation,Bless this our land and nation.Justice be our shield and defender,May we dwell in unity,Peace and liberty.Plenty be found within our borders.
God Bless You – God Bless Kenya.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I come to you in Jesus name to ask you for mercy and plead for peace for my country Kenya during this period of campaigning for or against the draft constitution. Lord; give us the wisdom to speak out words that will unite and not divide us. Bless us with a constitution eventually that will uphold your great name in our land no matter how long it may take. Be our shield and defender always even when our own leaders have left your way; Lord we choose to trust in you during and after the referendum. Thank you for the continued peace and may you renew your mercies for us day by day. I pray also for the political leaders that they will listen to reason and direct the affairs of state in an honest manner. Likewise I pray for the pastors of your flock that they continue to find voice to speak against injustices wherever they occur without fear or favor. Be glorified in Kenya and may your name be exalted in our midst. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.