In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. (Dan 1:1-2)
The book of Daniel opens on a most astounding account. It tells of how Nebuchadnezzar had besieged Jerusalem and how God had not only helped him to defeat the Israelites (his own chosen people) but had also helped him to pillage the sacred temple in which God himself was worshiped.
The curious bible scholar ought to be filled with consternation upon reading the opening two verses of the book of Daniel. And puzzled as to why God would turn against his own people to orchestrate their defeat and disgrace at the hands of a heathen king. The curious bible scholar would however soon find that Israel came to this pass entirely by their own doing. Two years earlier, God had sent a prophet to them to warn them of this impending doom unless they took certain steps to right their course.
In an uncanny repeat of history, I find Nigeria on the exact same course as Israel took in defiance of godly counsel. Just like Israel at that time, the current leadership has ignored all the warnings and counsel of good people and continued down a tunnel that empties only into a cauldron of misery.
At a time in Israel, just two years before Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, Jehoiakim had succeeded his father on the throne. In the beginning of his reign, God sent Jeremiah to warn him about the direction in which the nation was heading and the need to turn and head in a different direction failing which calamity would be the result. What do you suppose was the response of the rulers and the people?
And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. When the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the LORD and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the LORD. Then the priests and the prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.” (Jer 26:8-11)
Just as it was back then, the few persons who have tried to warn this administration about the doom that must be the natural result of their profligacy have been met with the most virulent attacks from presidential spokespersons and supporters. Anyone who has cautioned about waste has been labelled a prophet of doom.
It is however understandable when political hirelings defend their principal even if they have to take leave of reason to successfully pull it off. What irks now as it must have then, (in the Jeremiah account) is that many ‘church leaders’ have turned themselves to spiritual hirelings of the president and his devoted prophets of boom.
Just as the priests and the prophets called for the head of Jeremiah, these leaders excoriate, and if they had the powers would excommunicate anyone that will as much as ask obvious questions about the grave paths that this nation is forced to thread by its leaders.
Critically, in those opening verses of the book of Daniel, we find a stark warning for these ‘church leaders’. By allowing Nebuchadnezzar to pillage the temple, God essentially allows his ‘name’ to be desecrated just so he could unseat the odious cabal of priests and prophets who had entrenched themselves as leaders and were merchandizing his name and glory.
Dear church leaders, as it is said in scripture, “these things are written as examples for us”. the fate that befell the priests and prophets who opposed the truth as spoken by Jeremiah awaits those who lacking the courage to speak the truth, will put a garland on a totem of lies.