BEING THE FULL TEXT OF THE ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT, GOD’S KINGDOM SOCIETY (GKS) – The Church of The Living God – BROTHER GODWIN O. IFEACHO AT THE LAST AND GREAT DAY HOLY CONVOCATION OF THE CHRISTIAN FEAST OF TABERNACLES, IN SALEM CITY, WARRI, DELTA STATE, NIGERIA, ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2017
Dearly Beloved Celebrants,
HAIL JEHOVAH AND JESUS CHRIST!
To the Almighty God to Whom belongs all greatness, power, and majesty and with Whom nothing is impossible, be thanks and adoration for His loving care over us and for sustaining His Church to continue to serve as a place of refuge for His people in this part of the world by His grace.
In keeping with my duty in the Lord by His grace, my address to celebrants of the Christian Feast of Tabernacles this year is entitled “TRUST IN POWER AND WEALTH RATHER THAN IN GOD IS VANITY”. The word “Trust” means “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest or will not do anything bad or wrong”; “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something”; “Power” means “the ability or right to control people or events”; “the ability to influence people...”; “a natural or special ability to do something” and so on. “Wealth” is “a large amount of money, property etc that a person or country owns”. “Vanity” is “the state or fact of being futile, worthless, or empty of significance”
God is Almighty
JEHOVAH, the Almighty God has put it in the minds of men and women of goodwill the knowledge that He is the One they should trust and worship because, He has all power, and, as Their Creator, He loves them and will not do them harm but good. Scripture says, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17; See also Jeremiah 10:6,7,10-12; 29:11; Revelation 4:11; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10) Because it is impossible for God to lie, He will always keep His promises. - Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Psalm 20:7; Hebrews 6:18.
Unfortunately, many people place their trust not in God Almighty and His son Jesus Christ but in their fellow men, in their power and wealth. They thus go all out to accumulate wealth and acquire power, to serve as a hedge against unpredictable events that may come, without regard for God. With lots of money they expect to be freed from fear and want and to be able to acquire expensive cars and homes and clothes and to have lots of free time to travel where they want. Scripture says, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle…” “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” – Proverbs 23:5; 11:28. See also Psalm 146:3,4; Jeremiah 17:5-7.
Many people struggle for power because they believe it enables them to do what they want in life, to live their lives on their own terms, to influence or outrightly control the behaviour of people. When people have power they feel they have the prerogative to “make and break the rules” and violate norms, without as much penalty as powerless people. But, as many have found out, power and money, on their own, do not bring lasting happiness. There are many rich people and celebrities who are lonely, distressed, and who had even committed suicide. All power belongs to God and it is those who exercise power legitimately, in the fear of God, that will ultimately prevail. The Bible exhorts us thus, “Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” - Psalm 62:10, 11; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Psalm 147:10,11.
There are examples of people in the Bible who trusted in their power and wealth and came to nothing, we shall highlight a few examples.
The case of Pharaoh
A leader who trusted in his ability to control people and events due to his power and wealth was the Pharaoh of Egypt, the One who knew not Joseph. When Moses and Aaron presented him with JEHOVAH’S command that the people of Israel should be allowed to go to the wilderness to make sacrifices to Him, he arrogantly declared, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1, 2) God Almighty then told Moses, “...Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” -Exodus 6:5-7; 7:4, 5.
Though the magicians of Pharaoh tried to replicate the initial miracles done by Moses – those of turning his rod into a serpent, turning the river into blood and of causing frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt - they could not repeat the fourth miracle, that of bringing up lice over man and beast. The so-called “wise men” of Egypt then told Pharaoh, “...This is the finger of God”. (Exodus 8:19) Yet, Pharaoh would not let the Israelites to go until he and his people were forced to bow to the will of God when the angel of God at midnight “…smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle”, resulting in “…a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead”. (Exodus 12:29, 30) “And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” (Exodus 12:33) All the boast of Pharaoh and his hosts ended in humiliation and utter destruction when they were all drowned in the Red Sea. (Exodus 14; 15:1-21; Psalm 136:15) God brought the Israelites out of Egypt in so signal a manner, that it was clear that He is Almighty. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” -Exodus 15:1-3.
Those who because of their power and wealth oppose righteousness as Pharoah did would suffer similar fate as the Egyptians in time of old. St. Paul stated, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” - 2 Timothy 3:8, 9.
Nebuchadnezzar and the Three Faithful Jews
In the days of King Nebuchadnezzar, he made a golden statue 90 feet high and 9 feet wide and commanded his officers – princes, governors, captains, judges, treasurers, counsellors and sheriffs, rulers of the provinces - to worship it. Shortly after, reports came to him that certain Jews whom he had set over the affairs of the province of Babylon had refused to worship the image he set up. He then invited these officers and dared them to disobey his order, declaring impetuously, “…and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:15) However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to be frightened into compromising the integrity of their faith and of their personal convictions. Not used to having his will opposed, the king in fury ordered that the fire be heated seven more times and that the mightiest men in the army should throw the three Jews into the furnace, which had become so hot that even the soldiers were killed by it. However, God Almighty did a miracle in that the fire did no harm to the three faithful Jews. Besides that, an angel was found to be in the fire with them. “…Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25). The king was forced to eat his words. The Bible account states, "Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” - Daniel 3:28, 29.
Unfortunately, Nebuachadnezzar did not learn from this humbling experience, as he was in course of time overtaken by pride such that he came to believe, in spite of clear admonitions by Daniel the prophet, that he built Babylon by the might of his power and for the honour of his majesty. (Daniel 4:4-32). Consequently, “…he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws”. (Daniel 4:33) It was at the end of the “seven times” as foretold in the dream shown him, that the reasoning faculties of Nebuchadnezzar returned to him as he stated, “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:34, 35) He added: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” - Daniel 4:37.
David and Goliath
It is well known that people use a variety of power tactics to push or prompt people into the direction they want. These include bullying, demanding, threat, negotiating and so on. While Saul was king of Israel, Goliath the giant from Gath, intimidated the people of Israel with his monstrous stature, for he was "six cubits and a span," which according to the Smith’s Bible Dictionary, is about 10 feet high. He was therefore a formidable foe. He was defiant of the armies of Israel being much taller and stronger, and therefore looked with disdain on all those around him. – 1 Samuel 17:4-7.
He created a climate of fear among the Israelites in order to disorientate them. He barked, “…I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17:10) The Bible says that for forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted before the armies of Israel. – 1 Samuel 17:16.
When David a mere shepherd boy volunteered to fight the giant, King Saul was quick in dismissing his offer saying, “...Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33) But David related to the king how God had given him strength to kill a lion and a bear, saying, “…this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God”. He added, “…The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine…” (1 Samuel 17:36, 37) When he was fitted with war armour, David could not move, not having been trained in their use. He had to fall back to the sling and stones which he was familiar with. “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47) When David slung the stone at the giant, it sank into his forehead and he fell. “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.” (1 Samuel 17:50) It could be seen how frail and uncertain life is, and that trust in power and strength rather than in God is vanity. See Jeremiah 9:23,24; Psalm 62:6-8.
Truly the Bible says, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” - Psalms 33:16-19
When Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem, he through his officers, inflicted psychological punishment on the king and people of Judah, including threats, intimidation, verbal abuse and rage. Like the ass that likes to hear himself bray, Rabshakeh, one of the king’s officers, talked audaciously and insolently against God and the people saying, “…Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria...Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?” - 2 Kings 18:28-30, 33-35. See also Isaiah 37:1-38.
However, following fervent prayers made by the king and the people, God told the people through Isaiah the prophet thus, “And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” (2 Kings 19:6, 7) Consequently, the angel of God slew in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men. Sennacherib had to return to Nineveh in humiliation and while worshipping in the house of his god, he was assassinated by two of his sons. (2 Kings 19:35-37) Despite all their boasts, the Assyrians were shamefully defeated while their great king so-called was killed like a common criminal by his own children. He could not open his mouth wide against God any more.
False Sense of Security
All too often people who are carnally minded think that all that is valuable in life is to eat, and drink, and be cheerful or merry and that length of days depend on one’s affluence or wealth. Hence their chief anxiety is to be distinguished for magnificent style of living. They feel they have no need of God as the riches give them a false sense of security. The danger in this way of reasoning was highlighted by our Lord Jesus Christ in the parable of the Rich Fool in which he told his disciples “…Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” But the very night he thought he had finally settled all his problems, his life was taken from him by God Who said unto him, “…Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” Our Saviour then added, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” - Luke 12:15-21.
It could be seen that it is a fatal error for one NOT to make God his strength; but to trust in the abundance of his riches, and strengthen himself in his wickedness. We should carefully mark the words of David the Psalmist, to wit, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Continuing, the Psalmist declared: “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:3-6,35-37. Please look up also Psalm 52:6, 7 - Matthew 13:22; Luke 8:14; Deuteronomy 8:11-14; Job 31:24-31; Mark 8:36, 37; Luke 18:18-25.
Day of Decision
What many people lose sight of is that God Almighty will destroy this world some day. It is only those who trust in Him that will be delivered. Position, power, wealth, influence would be meaningless at that time, and indeed, as far as salvation is concerned. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” - Proverbs 11:4; Psalm 20:7; Proverbs 27:24; Matthew 6:19-21.
The Bible says, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. ... And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” - Zephaniah 1:14-18.
In the light of all that I have stated so far, I charge those who are privileged to have power and wealth and those who aspire to do so, not to trust in them because they are temporal. They should exercise faith in God Almighty and do His will at all times. They should bear in mind the exhortation of St. Paul to wit: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” - 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
I pray JEHOVAH, the Almighty God Who is reconciling the world to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ to purge us of our various errors and sins so that we would be holy, unblameable and unreproveable in his sight as to continue till the end in order to enjoy the riches He has promised His people in the world to come, all by His grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Godwin O. Ifeacho,
Please direct all inquiries to:
God's Kingdom Society (GKS)
(The Church of the Living God)
P. O. Box 424,
Warri, Delta State,
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