It seems to be now or never. On July 21st, Tukur Buratai, the chief of Nigeria’s Army Staff, commanded the Nigerian military to do all that it can to defeat the leader of Boko Haram, Abubukar Shekau, in forty days. According to the article, Buratai said that “The Boko Haram leader must be captured dead or alive within 40 days,” and that Major Attahiru, a general in the Nigerian military, was commanded to “employ every weapon available in his arsenal to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria” (source).
Such huge news comes in wake of the Nigerian police arresting five Boko Haram gunmen on the outskirts of the city of Kano, Nigeria. A gunfight broke out between the Nigerian soldiers and Boko Haram members, one of which was a 20-year-old from Niger. Home-made explosives were also thrown, and the islamic gunmen injured 3 policemen. The islamic gunmen have been put in jail.
Amidst all of the violence, a voice of Hope was found in one internally displaced people’s camp. Africa News reported that Nigerian musician Innocent Idibia, known as 2Face Idibia or 2Baba, visited an internally displaced people’s camp, to meet the refugees and support their cause. 2Baba stated his mission well: “I’m trying to raise more awareness so that many people will come to donate many things and to make life easier for them. I’m going to tell Nigerians that their brothers and sisters are suffering and they need to help.”
2Baba has donated donated to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, through his “2Face Foundation” recently, and has also created a song called “Hold My Hand,” advocating for refugees (which can be heard, here).
In reality, Nigeria seems to have gone farther than it ever has before in defeating Boko Haram, breaking down physical strongholds and maintaining order and safety within Nigerian communities. Praise Jesus! In this fight to stop Boko Haram, Nigeria is facing one of it’s biggest “giants” yet: Abubakar Shekau, and the ideology that fuels him.
Killing the Giants
In a sermon heard recently, the story found in 1 Samuel 17, David and Goliath, was discussed. In the biblical account, the Philistines are coming against Israel, and tout their biggest soldier, Goliath, to fill Israel with fear.
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels… Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.'”
(1 Samuel 17:4-5, 8-9, NIV)
Goliath was “six cubits and a span”– about 9 feet tall! As the Israelites looked up at this giant in their midst, and heard his taunting and challenge to them, one cannot imagine the absolute terror they felt (1 Samuel 17:11).
All of us have “Goliaths” in our lives; all of us, at one point or another, will need to face them. Everyone knows that David killed Goliath “with a sling and a stone” (1 Samuel 17:50). Where did David get such power and confidence?
Confidence in Christ
David’s war-cry toward Goliath tells it all.
“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.'”
(1 Samuel 17:45-47, NIV)
Listen to the above passage, friends. David was not fighting by Himself, or of His own accord; Christ was preparing David for this day. David knew that Goliath had gone against his God, and David had experienced victory over the predators that were out to get his sheep before (1 Samuel 17:34-37).
But Christ did not only prepare David for this day; He was with David as David faced Goliath. David did not put faith in man’s ability to defeat a giant so tall; it was through his victory over lions and bears that David realized true victory comes from the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47). From start to finish, it was not David who killed Goliath by Himself, but Yahweh, Jesus, who worked in and through David to bring Himself glory. It was closely walking with God that brought David victory over the giant that faced him, and knowing that it was God who would deliver Goliath into his hands.
Clinging to Christ, believing in who God said He is, David ran out to meet Goliath– and the rest is history. The lesson? As we delight ourselves in the Lord, we can run out to meet any “giant” coming against us with full confidence that Christ will do what He said He would do: give us the victory.
As the Nigerian military comes against Boko Haram, and most prominently, Abubukar Shekau, may they come to, and rely upon, Christ for the victory. After all, it is found in Him alone.
Do you know Jesus?
“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17:8, NIV)
David lived a loooong time before Jesus Christ ever came to earth; in fact, Jesus is the “Son of David,” coming approximately 26 generations after David came (Matthew 1). But Jesus was no ordinary man.
Although he was the Son of Man, Jesus was God Incarnate: God in human flesh. And, like David saved the Israelites, saved all those who believe on Him by killing the “ultimate giant”: the law of sin and death.
Jesus was brave; He created the Only Way to have a personal relationship with God, saving those who believe on Him from eternal separation from the Father. Those who trust in Him are like those spoken about in Jeremiah 17:8. Meet this God-in-Human-Flesh, the one who gave all of humanity salvation, here.
Please pray with me…
“Dear King Jesus,
Thank You for all that You have done,
and all that You are doing to do. We thank You for the capture of 5 islamic terrorists, and we pray that, as they lie in jail, Father God, that You would help them to come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior.
Thank You for the military men and women who have stomped out Boko Haram– thank You for giving them the victory over Boko Haram. We pray now over the Nigerian police and military, dear Jesus; please protect them, and bring them to know You as their Lord and Savior, so that they may rely on You and trust in You in battle.
We lift up those in Nigerian IDP camps, and those currently helping them. Dear Jesus, please bring an end to Boko Haram, and provide these internally displaced peoples with the food, water, schooling, healthcare, and safety that they need to survive, grow, and flourish. Please continue to show Your People how we can love, support, and pray for those in IDP camps in Northern Nigeria.
as violence seems to reign supreme in Northern Nigeria, please show Northern Nigeria that, in fact, YOU reign. We all need You, Jesus.
We lastly thank You for each Chibok girl, and every other person who has been abducted by Boko Haram. Please free them soon, Lord Jesus!
Keep us praying for these men, women, and children, dear Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,