Mobilising Christians Against Poverty

Stand Up Speak Out

153090In Micah Chapter 6 we see elements of a dramatic courtroom scene. The prophet is the prosecutor and the mountains and the hills are the witnesses because they were present at Sinai when the Lord made His covenant with Israel and when the commandments were written and placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a permanent witness (cf. Deut 31:26). God almighty whose titles are the King, the Chief Judge and the Lawgiver is the plaintiff. The charge against the Israelites is idolatry, rampant social corruption and religious syncretism. In his evidence the Plaintiff recalls His many gracious acts (6:3-5) towards them: He gave them Moses to redeem them from bondage in Egypt. He took them into the land He promised them. He intervened against Balaam. He miraculously parted the Jordan River in order for them to cross to the other side.

 

CopperbeltLaunch 011The Israelites were convicted of their sins and quickly sought for a plea bargain. They offered God almighty, the creator of the earth and owner of all that is in it, burnt offering, choice calves, thousands of rams, ten thousands rivers of oil and their first born children as a pay back for their transgressions. The Judge of judges responded that He does not require a gift. Instead He wanted them repent and to start to live righteously and to deal with the injustices of the day such as ill treatment of the widows and the poor, stealing, corruption and taking bribes. God wanted also for them to do works of goodness and kindness as well as to walk in humility.

 

In the year 2000 world leaders echoed something of the mind of the Biblical prophets when they promised to halve absolute global poverty by 2015. The UN General Secretary stated recently that Sub-Saharan Africa will not meet any of the Millennium Development Goals. But Sub-Saharan Africa has the opportunity to dramatically reduce poverty because of demands from growing economies such as China and India which has pushed up prices of commodities like copper, gold and oil, which Africa is rich in. Why then are we behind in addressing issues of poverty? The Post of September 23, 2007 quoting the Transparent International reported that corruption costs developing countries $40bn annually. The report stated, “Corruption’s drain on resources available to alleviate poverty, disease and illiteracy is profound.” The report called for a strong political will, transparency and accountability mechanisms and for effective and efficient judiciaries.

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Who will the stand up and speak out for the implementation of initiatives that can act as powerful deterrent to those seeking to plunder the African wealth? The Bible is unwavering in its declaration: Those who influence individuals, or our families, or our communities or our culture to stand for goodness, faithfulness and kindness are those who graciously serve the hurts and needs of others (James 1:27). The Bible is also clear in its pronouncement that those whom God has shown mercy must act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Our world leaders have a case to answer. They are far behind on the promise they made to the poor. It is now half-time since they made the promise. Who will stand up and speak out? If you have received mercy you have no choice but to speak out and to provide faithful, compassionate, and merciful service to the hurting and the needy.

Lawrence Temfwe

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