After taking over from President Mugabe, the current Zimbabwean President, Emerson Mnangagwa, declared that the voice of the people was the voice of God. As dichotomously predicated, people proffered their opinions according to whether that declaration was considered Godly-inspired or blasphemous. Without inviting being misconstrued as approving or not approving of President Mnangagwa’s viewpoint, I suppose there was some semblance of truth in his utterance. Indeed, the voice of the people ought to be God’s voice.
President Mnangagwa may have said this out of his desire to appease the Christian community. But that statement sounds truthful, as indeed, God’s voice ought to be manifested by those created in God’s image. The sinful humanity may not even be aware of representing God’s power. President Mnangagwa may have also pronounced those words, unaware of their significance and impact. However, the truth remains in that God’s word is represented in a united people’s voice.
God is commonly unknown to ordinary people. But there is no way of recognizing God, except by examining oneself. If created in God’s image, how else could one understand God, except by adjusting one’s conduct, according to God’s mind? If true that the other person is also God’s image, how does that person deserve to be treated? When carelessly dealing with other fellow humans, one becomes God’s enemy. The apostle John wrote something quite profound, about humanity’s representation of God. However, his statement remains misunderstood by most people.
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother(1 John 4:20-21 NIV).
While created in God’s image, a human being can represent divergent characteristics within himself. He can represent God on one hand and represent Satan, on the other. The important thing is to be aware of such possibilities. God is represented among individual humans, but the same humans can also represent Satan, at the same time. The correct mindset is to remain alert to the possibility of humans representing either of the two spiritual powers.
Simon Peter was, later on, rebuked by Jesus as representing Satan, after having commendably identified Jesus as the Son of God, (Matthew 16:16). “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven”(Verse 17). What caused Peter to later deserve being likened to Satan, by the same Jesus? “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men”(Verse 23).
Although being one of Jesus’ most trusted apostles, Peter represented both God and Satan. The same applies to any man. The most important factor is to discern whether the person represents God’s voice or Satan’s. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people (John 18:14). His conjecture had not necessarily been inspired by supporting Jesus. Yet Caiaphas’ statement was prophetically accurate.
God’s voice can come from the least expected quarters. The wrong thing is to always assume that nothing good comes from evil people. Also, assuming that nothing bad can come from those considered good is wrong. God’s people discern God’s voice, even when faintly crying out in the wilderness, as prophetically affirmed (Isaiah 40:3). The ability to discern whether it is God’s, voice or Satan’s, grants freedom.
People’s voices can be as powerful as God’s voice is powerful. The people’s voice is commonly incapacitated by disunity. When the people speak with one voice, nothing is impossible. It is unnecessary to maintain the sentiment of being God-fearing when failing to understand God’s written word. Is it not the same God who stated that Man was created in God’s image? If created in God’s image where is human incapacitation coming from?
Humans carry the capacity of God’s power. Failure is self-induced rather than Godly incapacitation. An interesting Biblical narrative confirms possible human power when people are united. The origin of linguistic diversities was necessitated by the innate power in humanity. The risk is in the sinfulness of humanity. As long as sinfully united, humans can easily decimate themselves.
As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other”(Genesis 11:2-7 NIV).
Those Babylonians did not know what they were doing. It took God, as aware of the inherent power in humans, to prevent them from eventually destroying themselves. The power of those people was impossible to control, as long as they were united. It was out of God’s love that they had to be linguistically confounded. God said: “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible” (Verse 6)
The creation chapter reveals that God is an effective communicator. Just by His word, everything manifested. The unfathomable reality of all creation was commanded by God’s voice. The most unbelievable condition is that all astonishing things about God’s creation are achievable by humanity. This is why it is impossible to please God without faith. Jesus experienced some frustration with His disciples, on the aspect of their failure to understand the principle of faith.
Jesus kept highlighting their condition of deficiency in faith. They were unconscious of their inherent power, as created in God’s image. Jesus never sought to surmise that His abilities were unachievable by humanity. He sought to help His disciples to appreciate the source of their potential power through Jesus. The faith that Jesus highlighted embraced the understanding that God’s children could do everything done by Jesus.
“Without warning a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him” (Matthew 8:24-27 NIV).
Jesus revealed the inherent power in humanity, by rebuking the furious storm that caused fear among His disciples. Their exhibited fear of the storm was not inherent in them, unlike the power to calm the sea, which exists among humans. They could not understand that reality, even as it was manifested through Jesus. As Jesus’ disciples, they portrayed Jesus as greater than them, but Jesus kept showing them that their limitation was generally in lacking faith. Their view of Jesus’ greatness was sustained by their failure to appreciate the possible human abilities through Jesus, who was their leader.
As observed through Jesus’ abilities, human power had not been associated with the physical universe. God’s power is projected by God’s voice. Jesus did not have to repeatedly command the storm to stop misbehaving or use some other manipulative gimmick. He also could have silently commanded the sea and produced similar results. Jesus was also human, except that He was aware of His origin. His mission was to help troubled humanity to also become conscious of that reality.
President Emerson Mnangagwa idly pronounced that the voice of the people was the voice of God. I suppose a few believers appreciated that his utterances were inspired by God. However, this does not necessarily mean every voice of humanity would be God’s voice. The most important realization ought to be that every human is capable of uttering God’s word, regardless of circumstances. A prostitute, by the name Rahab, is counted among faith Heroes (Hebrews 11:31), and yet prostitutes are commonly despised.
If there could ever be anything to ask from God, nothing could be more significant than the ability to discern, when either God or Satan speaks. Confusion lies in assuming that God would have spoken where Satan would have spoken, or vice versa. The evaluation of information is as vital as education is vital. The abundance of God’s voice is clouded by proud people, assuming to discern God’s voice better.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it(John 1:1-5 NIV).
Our renowned Theologians have strenuously sought to ascribe the above passage to some mystically compounded utterance. However, the above Scripture is simply attributing value to communication. The term “Word” refers to a condition of communication, as taken from the Greek language. People resort to destructive wars when unable to communicate. Without communication marriages fall apart. Without communication, nothing is workable in businesses and other social affairs.
The term, “Word,” is accurately descriptive of communication among humans. Loosely defined, communication refers to exchanging ideas, aiming at settling disputable matters. Through a lack of communication, humans would be at war with each other. Communication should be regarded as a solvent which operates like some lubrication that removes friction.
It is only barbarism that leads the so-called sophisticated nations to invest in nuclear stockpiles rather than in communication. A backward nation invests in a defensive arsenal, rather than in communication. Even the most astringent enemies could reach out, communicating with rivalries, as long as they appreciate the value of human life. Jesus advanced a workable formula in communication, to avoid succumbing to the accumulation of arsenal to eliminate one another.
The principle of loving one’s enemies, as advocated by Jesus, is premised on communication ideals. Hostility towards fellow humans is caused by the unwillingness to confront realities through communication. Such unwillingness invites devastating hostilities bedevilling humanity. According to John, communication is the shining light but is misunderstood by the darkness.
Great men are peacemakers, whom Jesus described as God’s children. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). How can one be identified as a peacemaker without his willingness to engage belligerents in communication? The purpose of Jesus was to advance communication between God and humanity. Christians are expected to do likewise.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV).
These are not idle words but refer to those claiming to have accepted Christ as their living Savior. When called to Christ, one is not invited for a holiday. There is some tough work to be done. Nothing else matters except God’s work. The clumsiest of all conditions, prevailing among those calling themselves “Christians” is their inability to reconcile among themselves. The stumbling block is arrogance, rather than the factor of Jesus being the focal point, among believers.
Pride prevails, even among those of the same fellowship, categorizing each other according to class or gender. Self-importance causes poor communication among brethren. There is power in uniting to advance God’s communication, driven by the powerful Word of God, as long as pride is suspended. God’s voice should be made known, as the Lord’s Day approaches.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99