In 2019, myself and wife were rushing to Gatwick airport in London for a 7am flight to Toronto, CA. It was the eve to the global lockdown in Europe against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our journey to Gatwick was routed through one of London’s underground train stations. We should have hired a taxi or an Uber from Kings Cross St Pancras, but my love and thrill for “London underground tubes” played a fast one on me, and consequently, we decided to ride through trains to Gatwick airport.
While waiting on the platform for the arrival of the train that would take us to Gatwick airport, we noticed the presence of a British couple and their little boy—the three of them were also waiting to ride on the same train with us to Gatwick. But to my utmost amazement, these parents left their little son to walk up and down across the platform while they seemed to be engaged in an interesting conversation. Th boy should be around two to three years of age.
This got my attention, and I whispered to my wife to look at the little boy walking loosely on a platform that high speed trains were traversing in almost every five minutes. Both of us were so enraged and terrified. Still, the parents—looking unperturbed—continued with their conversation—to my amazement and bewilderment. “What kind of people are these”, was the question on my lips to my wife. I was getting more worried and concerned about this little boy than the parents. Flashing through my mind were the stories of people in London undergrounds who were pushed to an oncoming train by some mentally derailed persons. What if a train appears now? What if this little body falls into the tracks? These were the questions flowing through my mind as I remained enraged at the lackadaisical attitude of the parent to a looming danger.
Suddenly we heard the noise of the approaching train from afar. Then, it was at that time the parents gently called the name of their little boy who was still running up and down on the platform, “Jack come on over here, they whispered softly”. I looked at my wife in utter disbelief and palpitation, and we both felt like landing some slaps on the two parents. This is disaster looming! Your little boy, who to me should be around 2 to 3 years of age was still jumping up, running around, and rolling on the of the edge of the platform.
Then, what I had feared almost seemed like a reality. The train whose sound we had heard suddenly appeared in full throttle and with full speed. At that time, I could not hold it any longer, and was almost ready to jump up and grab the little boy out of this impending disaster. You won’t believe it that as the train appeared in sight, and was heading towards our direction, this little body jumped up and sped towards the edge of the platform, and then the MOTHER SCREAMED, “JACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!, rushed towards him and grabbed him. If it were not a sin or a crime against the law, I would have pounced on this woman. I said to myself, evil is knocking at your door, and you are whispering at it? You don’t whisper at evil. You stop it—particularly when the power to stop it is in your hands.
This experience bears a striking resemblance with what is presently bedevilling Nigeria as a nation. Evil is raging. Disaster is looming. But our leaders—spiritual and political are dancing. Let’s learn from the epic story of Eli because the experience I have just shared parallels with what happened to Eli in 1 Samuel chapter 2.
In 1 Samuel 2:28-30, Eli’s children were abusing the offering of God’s people by collecting the largest portion of it and spending it so lavishly.
Sounds familiar? How politicians and their children, and a lot of church leaders and their cronies are feasting on the commonwealth of the people.
Also, Eli’s sons were sleeping with so many women and were involved in so many terrible things. Consequently, God passed a damning verdict on Eli through a prophet in 1 Samuel 2:29. Hear what God said to Eli:
“Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’
Look at that phrase, “honor your sons more than me”. This makes it clear that God will never be a second fiddle. God will never be at the back burner. If you prioritize anything or anyone above God, you are touching an extremely sensitive side of God.
Also, in 1 Samuel 3:13, hear what God said about Eli:
“For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not”
Look at that phrase, “THE INIQUITY WHICH HE KNOWS”. Wow. God was telling Eli, “You know what your pastors are doing in their branches. You are just pretending. You know what your wife is doing with the tithes and offerings of the church. You know what your sons are doing. You know what your senators are doing. You know what your party members are doing. But you have refused to stop them even when you have the power to do so.
Consequently, God pronounced some very heavy judgements on Eli. God stripped him and his generation from the highly prestigious priestly office. Hear what God said to Eli 1 Samuel 2:30:
“Therefore, the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed”.
Here is the problem with Eli—God’s chosen leader is like any typical leader in Nigeria. When Eli’s children were involved with evil, Eli actually cautioned them because in 1 Samuel 2:23-25, Eli called them, and told them to stop all their evil works. But surprisingly, when God would judge Eli, God said in 1 Samuel 3:13, “ELI KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND HE DIDN’T STOP THEM”. In other words, God was not talking about advising people when they are doing evil, when you have the power to stop them. Eli would have removed his children from their responsibilities in the temple and would have replaced them with other credible people. Similarly, our General Overseer, our president, our governor—would have removed and replaced all these corrupt pastors and politicians to stop their evil practices.
By doing that, he would have stopped that evil. But he didn’t, like many of us have been taught. When you see evil, turn the other eye. It doesn’t concern you. Face your ministry. Leave them to God etc. If the power to stop evil is in your hands, and you pray for the doers of evil without stopping them, you have failed. If the power to stop the perpetrators of evil is in your hands and you only rebuke and advise them, you have failed. A lot of leaders in the body of Christ and in our nation have failed God, though many of them are still being celebrated by men. This was exactly what made Jack’s parents to appear so irresponsible to me in my earlier story. Their son was on the verge of being crushed by a train, and all they did was to whisper to him so casually to stop-rather than rushing at the boy and pulling him away from an impending danger.
Our society is currently bedevilled with a lot of failed leaders—in the church and in the larger society. God is tired of advisers and counsellors–people who have the power to stop evil but who have chosen to turn the other eyes. It is important to pray, and we must pray. But the Holy Spirit has told me very clearly that many believers and spiritual leaders who have the power to stop the evil of false doctrines; the evil of occultism in ministry; the evil of manipulation and brainwashing of God’s people; the evil of greed and covetousness among pastors have turned the other eyes.
They know what to do to clean up their ministries, but they will never do it because of the impact the cleaning up will have on their image, finances, church membership and influence. Only one memo will clean up all of these rots, but they won’t ever write the memo. Only one legislation will stop the killings in Nigeria, but this political leader—for fear of losing his re-election, will not push for the enactment of the legislation. Rather, they will continue to hide under the canopy of, “let’s continue to pray for the church”, “let’s continue to build bridges across party platforms”, “lets continue to pray for Nigeria”. There is a difference between stopping something instantly when you’ve got the power and calling for religious prayers that will almost not have any impact because it is built on deceit.
At the moment, Nigeria is presently bombarded, left and right by the wind of multiple evils. In the church, a lot of church leaders are corrupt, occultic, arrogant, proud, greedy, and covetous—and because of these, the power of God has been drained out almost completely in the church and righteousness and integrity have taken exits out of the hearts of so many Christians—who are almost much worse than unbelievers. In the larger society, Nigeria is bombarded by the evil of corrupt politicians, ritualists politicians, greedy and covetous politicians, terrorism, armed banditry, and kidnapping—to mention a few. Who will stop these evils?
History is replete with the stories of great leaders around the world who became great not just because they danced around evil, but because they stopped evil. Martin Luther King Jr stopped the evil of racism against the black race in America. Martin Luther in Germany stopped the evil of malpractices among church leaders by writing and presenting his world claimed thesis. Is it Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or Winston Churchill or Thomas Sankara or Nelson Mandela or Martin Neomoller you want to talk about, and you won’t see their marks on the sands of time? All of them rose to confront and stop the different shades of evil that confronted their nations and societies—even at great costs to their lives. Hear Martin Neomoller’s famous quote.
“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
In all honesty, God is now visiting the church and the nation with the Eli’s type of pruning and judgement, and he has already begun to replace leaders across the body of Christ and in politics—despite their status and results—with those who have the will to stop evil and promote the establishment of truth in the land. May you not end up like Eli! Do not pray about evil when you have the power to stop it immediately. Prayer is critical and crucial. But it can never take the place of stopping evil practices that you’ve got the power to stop.
Ayo Akerele is a passionate and profound teacher of the word by the grace of God. His itinerant teaching ministry under different Christian organisations has lasted for many years since he met the lord in the early 1980s. He is the founder of the Voice of the Watchmen Ministries (a.k.a Rhema For Living Assembly) in Ontario, Canada, and the convener of the Believers Fire Conference–a quarterly interdenominational believers conference–hosted in major cities around the world.
He is also the host of the weekly Rhema Hour on 32fm—a radio teaching ministry reaching five million people in Southwest Nigeria, and the publisher of “The Voice Newsletter”–a monthly teaching outreach to various states across Nigeria. Ayo Akerele is a public speaker; an entrepreneur; a leadership expert; a national transformation consultant, and the author of twelve books. He holds a doctorate degree in employee turnover, human capital development and organizational tacit knowledge from the prestigious Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt University in Scotland, and has worked extensively for more than twenty years as a consultant for multinational corporations in Africa, Europe, and North America before answering the call to ministry. Ayo Akerele is married and blessed with children.
Dr David Ayo Akerele
Founder, Voice of the Watchmen Ministries, Ontario, Canada
Director, Flock Keepers International (a leadership & value system development organization)
Instagram handle: ayoakerele
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