Nigeria has been the home of both much establishment and much destruction in the last few weeks. While not more than a month ago, Nigeria was experiencing exciting victories over Boko Haram, Nigeria’s war on terror has seemingly took a disparaging turn. The damage has been heartbreaking: in the past two weeks alone, over 200 men, women, and children have been killed in acts of terror. Yet, it is in the face of such sorrowful, grievous events that a call for action and resolve was not only made, but acted upon. This action resulted in monumental change in the leadership that will be fighting against– and, prayerfully, ending– the Boko Haram insurgency. In what might be called one of Buhari’s boldest acts as President so far, the president fired every service chief officer that served under Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
While this complete turnover of power was not completely unexpected, the change confirmed one important Truth: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others” (Daniel 2:20-21a). If this were not an example of one reign ending and another being established, a person would be incredibly hard-pressed to find one. Fortunately, there are many examples– two prime examples– of this Truth all throughout God’s Word. One example, in particular, comes to mind: King David, and His being established, as King of Israel.
Establishing King David
David’s story of being crowned and anointed king is one full of tumultuous ups and downs, to say the least. Anointed as Israel’s King by Samuel in Samuel 16, it took 5 perilous years for God’s choosing to become a reality in Israel. Tracked and hunted down by King Saul (the king of Israel at the time), David was constantly running for his life– and, profoundly, clinging to the Love, mercy, power, and promises of Jesus through it all. In the end, the LORD’s purposes stood: In 2 Samuel 5, David was finally crowned king, much to his, and Israel’s, joy and relief.
Jesus’ establishment of David as king– and the blessings that came with it– did not stop there, though. After being crowned king by Israel, King David had matters of business that he tended to, almost immediately. In Samuel 5:6-25, the newly crowned King David went out to war to conquer both Jerusalem and the Philistines, all while having his mighty men around him. God granted King David favor in both battles; before long, Jerusalem was famously known as “the City of David” (2 Samuel 5:9).
The “Secret” to Success
Many may wonder, “Why was King David so successful, and so favored?” There is much to glean from both Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 11 concerning this question. In 1 Chronicles 11, Chiefs of David’s mighty men (and the mighty men themselves) are described as “…men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel” (1 Chronicles 11:10). Desperate and broken in their own ways, the men David was surrounded by were not all “chosen” by David; in fact, Jesus drew these men to David in times of his greatest need, and were later trained in warfare by David (as told in 1 Samuel 22:1-2). The account of David’s Mighty Men speaks of more than just the importance of having a great leader; it speaks of the importance of having Godly, God-given, great community.
As Proverbs 13:20 dictates, the men David was surrounded by affected his reign– and his life– incredibly. Yet, while the “Mighty Men” in David’s life helped in his success, God’s anointing of– and personal relationship with– David was the real reason David succeeded as He did. It was not David’s skill nor the amount of men David had behind him in war; it was David’s close relationship with Jesus that guaranteed victory. David affirmed this himself in Psalm 20:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Known as “a man after God’s own Heart” (Acts 13:22), David, though sinful, was a man who truly loved and honored the LORD; and, therefore, lived honoring and glorifying Jesus (Psalm 18:1; Psalm 86:12). This love relationship with Jesus brought David the Lord’s favor, mercy, and comfort, even in David’s failures (Psalm 3:3). The mere fact that God chose David as King, and promised to bless his offspring and family line, guaranteed a success no one could take away. Yet, this relationship was about more than God’s blessings, whether here or hereafter. Knowing Jesus personally did more than give David victory and blessing; it was his victory and blessing. This profound, breathtaking Truth is what David meant when He said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). Having the Lord on his side– more than that, knowing Jesus on a real, intimate level– gave David all He could ever want or need. “And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him” (1 Chronicles 11:9).
President Muhammadu Buhari, though muslim, has been “established by God” (Romans 13:1) to rule over Nigeria. While this may be for reasons yet unknown, we know that it is ultimately for God’s purposes; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). While this may remain a difficult situation, one thing is clear: President Muhammadu Buhari is simply a man– a man who is completely separated from God, in his sin. Because of this, whether Buhari chooses a wise, sound committee or not is irrelevant; He must know Christ. The future of the nation– more importantly, the future of his soul– depends on it.
Do you know Jesus?
“He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
(Psalm 103:9-12, NIV)
There’s no doubt about it: David loved God with all of his heart (Psalm 73:25-26). But as much as David loved God, it could not compare with God’s Love for him. God’s Love for David was perfect– though David lived under the Mosaic Covenant Law, God was “the lifter of [David’s] head,” faithful to “bend down his ear” to listen to David’s prayer (Psalm 3:3; 116:2).
Yet, while David’s reign was blessed and ordained by God, there was One far greater who would come. David himself prophesied of this in Psalm 110:1, NIV:
“The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
While God’s Love is perfect, so is His sense of justice. Because of this, God’s “coming King,” called the “Messiah” by Israel’s prophets, would come to die for the sins of mankind, and would usher in a new kingdom– “the Kingdom of God.” Through Him, a new covenant would be made– and God would “forgive [His People’s] wickedness
and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). In the ultimate show of God’s Perfect Justice and Love, this man would die for mankind, reconciling those who believed on Him to God, forever (Genesis 3:15c).
This Messiah-King has come, and his name is Jesus Christ. Meet Him– and understand our need for Him– here.
As believers, we are called to make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks… for all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (2 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV). In light of this, may we pray for our leaders, wherever we may live.
Pray, of course, for Muhammadu Buhari. Pray that the Lord would strip him of all that keeps him from Jesus; pray that he would be desperate to know God, and Jesus, personally. Pray that the Lord would reveal Himself to him, and would move powerfully. Pray that He would come to know who Jesus is in a personal, Saving relationship; pray that when and as he finds Jesus, he would not be afraid to profess Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. Pray that, as Jesus works in and through him, he would lead the country to know Christ, and would be used by Jesus greatly in all he does.
Pray for his family: his wife, Aisha Buhari, and his children. Pray that as they go through life, they would come to know Jesus personally– that they would be surrounded by those who love Jesus, and who would be faithful to love and share the gospel with them. Pray that they would not be afraid to confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, either.
Pray that Muhammadu Buhari would be surrounded by men and women who believe in and know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Pray these men and women would be quick to sharing the gospel with Buhari; may not a second be lost in taking opportunities to show Buhari the love, grace, and gospel of Christ Jesus.
Pray for Buhari’s new cabinet, especially. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14). Pray these advisors would know Christ– and pray that, as they would know Him, they would honor Him as Lord and Savior in all their conduct and counsel. May they “Live such good lives among [him, the pagan(s)] that… [he] may see [their] good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (2 Peter 2:12). Pray that they would glorify God for all to see.
Pray for the men and women Buhari is now leading. Pray that there would be a revival within the Church in Nigeria; pray that those who voted for and believe(d) in Buhari for change would, instead, believe and put all their hope in Christ. Pray that, as this revival touches all believers in Nigeria, they would reach out to their Nigerian, muslim neighbors (all neighbors, truly)– and would share Jesus’ Love, goodness, and grace with all those who do not know Christ’s love and salvation personally.
Pray for the Nigerian military. Pray that they would break the strongholds of Boko Haram. Pray that they would smite Boko Haram’s terrorist attacks; pray that, in and under Christ, they would have victory.
Pray for those who are currently under captivity; pray that they would know Christ as their Lord and Savior, being spiritually freed from the bondage of sin. Pray that they would be physically freed, soon.
Pray that, in this nation, “…every knee [would] bow to [Christ], and every tongue [would] confess to God” (Romans 14:11). May they know Him as God and King– for, when Christ is made King of our lives, true salvation is found.