Let us not lose our roar – Sermon preached at the Consecration and Installation of the Very Reverend Luke Pretorious as 3rd Bishop Of St Mark The Evangelist
October 26, 2019
TEXT: 1 KINGS 2: 1- 4
WHEN THE TIME DREW NEAR FOR DAVID TO DIE HE GAVE A CHARGE TO SOLOMON HIS SON. “I AM ABOUT TO GO THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH” HE SAID. “SO BE STRONG, SHOW YOURSELF A MAN, AND OBSERVE WHAT THE LORD YOUR GOD REQUIRES. WALK IN HIS WAYS AND KEEP HIS DECREES AND COMMANDS, HIS LAWS AND REQUIREMENTS AS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, SO THAT YOU MAY PROSPER IN ALL YOU DO AND WHEREVER YOU GO, AND THAT THE LORD MAY KEEP HIS PROMISE TO ME. IF YOUR DESCENDANTS WATCH HOW THEY LIVE, AND IF THEY WALK FAITHFULLY BEFORE ME WITH ALL THEIR HEART AND SOUL, YOU WILL NEVER FAIL TO HAVE A MAN ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.
Allow me to use a lion as a metaphor. A lion has the following traits:
- It roars as a sign of bravery, fierceness and being in control of the jungle.
- Secondly it takes risks while moving up and down the jungle. It may appear brave and in control but it has it at the back of its mind, that strong as it may be, there might be enemies around who might strike at any time. Nonetheless the lion moves without being intimidated and being apologetic.
- The same lion protects its cubs from its preys for growth and procreation. This allows progress and continuity even when the lion gets older and loses its grip.(Job 4: 10- 11)
Coming back to the text; David was about to exit planet earth. As King and leader in Israel, he gave Solomon his son a road map as Israel’s next leader, which was to push him into his Devine purpose on earth. David had fought and won many battles fulfilling his purpose as a warrior and a worshiper. He specified the following in his charge;
- The importance of observing God’s commands.
- The importance of walking in God’s ways.
- The importance of keeping God’s decrees.
As Solomon pondered on this key words “Observe, Walk and Keep” he needed an in-depth study and exposition, and as an upcoming leader, and therefore he embarked on a journey to Gibeon (1Kings 3:4) to seek knowledge and understanding from God on how to fulfill the task before him. As he wrestled with God, he was granted liberty to ask for anything. From all things he would have asked, Solomon requested for a discerning heart to govern and to know between right and wrong and God granted him his request and more.
Solomon’s spirit was quickened and he recalled that through oral tradition, his father David inherited the throne from King Saul who was rejected by God because he failed to adhere to God’s commands. He had been told “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites, make war on them until you have wipe them out” but Saul did what was contrary to God’s command and was rejected. (Solomon said I don’t want to experience rejection from Jehovah God because it is possible to be rejected by God while still on the throne).
History also recorded that after Moses death, Joshua took reign, “But there arose a generation that knew nothing about their God” (Judges 2 10). The honors were now on Solomon as the next king to raise a generation that will either know or reject God. The secret was either to adopt the tools at hand or craft a new path. It is either St Marks will know or reject God in your turner, therefore watch and pray.
That is why then Solomon asked for a discerning heart from God in order to govern the people and to distinguish between right and wrong. God gladly granted him a wise and a discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like him, nor will there be ever on earth.
It is the same wisdom that Solomon used to craft a ‘Curriculum of life’ inscribed in Ecclesiastes, which included time, governess, wisdom and destiny. In Songs of Songs, Solomon gave a curriculum about love, friendship and marriage, while in Proverbs he crafted a curriculum on discipline and a prudent life demonstrated through proverbs, parables and riddles. This was not just for the nation of Israel, but it was to shape his life too.
The unfortunate part is that, with all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding, Solomon lost his roar. He started leaning in his own understanding. He married foreign wives, invited wrong people into his camp and signed treaties with different kings exposing himself to the enemy thus displeasing God. He started very well but he ended very badly. It is therefore important to be in constant check (Bishop) with the one who has mandated you into this office, less you lose your roar.
Let us fast track to Jesus life in the New Testament.
Jesus our greatest leader, mentor and Apostle demonstrated the same wisdom and understanding in the new dispensation. Christ used wisdom and understanding as he handpicked his disciples, and amongst them were Peter, John and Judas.
Peter represented God’s Kingdom that Christ established on earth. Christ destroyed the law of sin and death by offering himself as a sin offering that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but the Spirit. Peter also represented human frailty as he made many mistakes in life, but through the Spirit of God, he demonstrated a repented heart fulfiling Christ purpose on earth. (Bishop) you need a Peter in your team, in order for the kingdom to be established on earth. Someone with a heart of an evangelist in order to spread the good news of the Kingdom in this Diocese.
Through the same Spirit Christ handpicked John, who represented the sin of pride (Matthew 20:21), remember he wanted the best seats in the Kingdom of God. (Be on the lookout bishop, there will always be John’s in life). Do not throw them away because you will need them in the long run. Remember, it is the same John who unveiled the secret mystery of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 4:12). Through life in the Spirit, John endured Patmos and opened the seal, giving the Church eternal hope in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Bishop) Pray for more John’s in your team who will unpack the secret mystery of the Kingdom on earth for St Marks to grow holistically.
Lastly Jesus chose Judas Iscariot, an accountant and an administrator who maintained the status core. The same Judas represented the sin of betrayal. But remember my lord bishop that it is the same betrayer that ushered Jesus Christ into his divine purpose of saving the world. No Judas no salvation!!!
Always be on guard, every leader has a Judas. Do not cast him/her out, as he/she will push you and stretch you towards your purpose in the diocese and beyond.
Allow Lady Wisdom, the Holy Spirit to hold your hand bishop. She will help you understand the different dynamics in your team. Always remember to seek the purpose of everyone around you. Never under estimate the power of connection. God has a sense of humor, God may solve a serious problem through a conversation with a grounds man or a cleaner. Be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit as a leader in order to fulfill your assignment, less you lose your roar.
As I draw to a close, May I address everyone in this arena. Remember that through Christ death on the cross great men and women of God arose and spread the word to the uttermost part of the world. Giving humanity a privilege (through apostolic succession) to be co-workers with him.
Therefore each one of us should seek our purpose in this world in order to fulfill God’s mission too, shying away from the sin of pride, boasting and the attitude of knowing it all. Let us remember that we are still going to account before the Almighty for everything we have done under the sun. The greatest wisdom would be to “Observe, Walk and Keep” God’s decrees and commands at all times. Working tirelessly as it is day time less we lose our roar, and miss the eternal mark.
Let us keep it in mind that the devourer will forever be on the lookout for those cubs, which is the body of Christ. Protect them bishop, shield them and love them for the glory of God who entrusts human beings to be co-workers with God, less they go astray.
In the name of God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen
The Revd Dalcy Dlamini