FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD
His Grace Sir Godfrey Gregg
To my beloved Patriarch and Bishop of Starlight of Israel Sir Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson, Archbishop Adrian Toussaint, Matriarch Hon. Janet McClean, His Eminence Sir Eric Alleyne, Patriarch McGillvary and the Queen Abbess of London, England; brothers, sisters, friends and well-wishers greetings: Today I want to turn to the book of Judges for our scripture reading.
Judges 2:1-4 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
In the text before us we see the Lord telling His chosen people (us) that He has held up His end of the covenant that He had made with their (our) fathers. He’s reminding them (us) that thus far He had done what He said He would do. But He reminds them (us) that there were some things that He expected of them (us) in return. He is reminding them (us) that there were stipulations on the fulfilment of some of His promises to them (us). And He reminds them (us) of their failure to meet the standards that He had placed upon them (us).
That same God has given us some stipulations to follow in order to enjoy some of the blessings that we receive, and we fail. We fail daily to be all that we ought to be.
James said we have not because we ask not, and when we do ask we ask amiss. This means that we ask for the wrong things, in the wrong way, at the wrong time, or for the wrong reason.(James 4:1-10) What James is telling us is that if we will try to live for God and trust Him in every aspect of our lives, then we will be blessed. Why is it that we fail so? Many times we let ourselves get in the way of the promises of God. We must understand that the church is bigger than us and God is bigger than the church. As a matter of fact, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He has the whole world in His hands. We make a mockery of ourselves when we try to run God’s show. It is best we stay in our lane and watch God put His plan in motion on our behalf. We often find ourselves in a position where God must refuse blessing because we have not lived up to our part of the covenant. We limit God in our daily lives as Israel did in Psalm 78:41.
This is the situation that we find in our text. God is being held up in blessing them by their own failure in following Him. What is it that causes failure in God’s chosen people? There are many things that can cause our failure with God. If we can look into our hearts and then surrender to His calling. He owes us nothing, He gave us all we have need of and it is up to us now to accept the plan He offers to us. We have not because we are too stubborn and “full of ourselves”. God wants to use us but we must surrender to His will.
Notice first that they lacked faith in God’s promise. He told them (us) that He had given the land into Judah’s hands and they still asked for help. They did not trust God to do this for them. God has led them, fed them, fought for them, and they have witnessed the power of God in the awesome miracles that they had witnessed for forty years. Yet they lacked faith in God’s promise of victory. To do this is simply to doubt God. If you will notice in Judges 1:19, Caleb was able to do alone what the whole nation was unable to do previously. Because he trusted God. My brothers and sisters of The Mystical Order in New York and Trinidad and Tobago and the children of Starlight of Israel hearken unto my voice in this hour. This is the time to take God seriously at His word or perish in your own foolish ways and folly.
In Judges 1:16, Judah lacked obedience to God’s word. He would not drive out the inhabitants of the land as God had commanded. And the other tribes followed suit. They settled down among the inhabitants of the land. Rid your life of sin and the fleshly desires and fill that void with the peace and grace of Almighty God. Hallelujah. Sin has destroyed many nations and has destroyed many churches. I have seen many church leaders fall from their throne and are still living in disgrace. Are you walking in their footsteps? Come along and follow the word of the Lord, it is not too late for you to get onboard. I have a captain to introduce to you. Not one to fall asleep, but is ever watching for dangers on the journey. The waves may be rough, but I assure you that His hands have a firm grip on the wheel.
We do the same thing. We are commanded to be separate from sin. We are to rid ourselves of our old sinful habits after we get saved. We should also abstain from the evil company as well as wicked behaviour. Of course, we should not drink. But we also should not keep company with drunkards. Neither should we compromise and say that people should just quietly live and let live. Sin should be pointed out and denounced. Not coddled and lived with. In America, liquor was once illegal. Now it is big business. In governmental circles as well as business. Look at the taxation on this sinful practice. OK, so drinking is alright as long as someone pays the taxes on the booze. In our state now it is gambling that has come to be what alcohol has been for some time. A great ugly blight on our state’s social landscape. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the government has removed the taxes on lottery winnings. This means more money in your pockets and it will encourage more people to play the games. It may be OK to indulge in practices at home as long as it is out of the public eyes. Let me tell you God still sees us and is recording our actions.
Gambling is extortion, plain and simple. And those who make their living in the gaming industry are guilty. Just as guilty as any man who impoverishes his family to take a foolish chance at a wish for easy money. As well as the government that makes taxes off the sinful practice.
Another cause for the failure of God’s children in this world is a lack of vision. In Judges 1:19 we see that they are blinded by the enemies’ strength. They could not see past the chariots of iron.
In much the same way, the few people in this world who would stand for right and good are afraid of the superior numbers of the opposition. It is obvious that the devil has us outnumbered, as far as the eye can see, but we must remind ourselves that they that be on our part far outnumber they that be against us. God is on our side. The armies of Heaven are around us. We are not alone, and we are not outnumbered. Let us be resolved to stand no matter what the odds. It may be a handful of co-workers. It may be one friend, or it may be a hundred, a thousand that are against us. With God on our side, what can’t we do? What can’t God do?
Let us trust God’s word and act upon it, obey it, and have the vision to see beyond this life to the blessings that await. May Almighty God bless and keep us in His service until He returns. Amen