Recession-proof Christian Life
12/2/16 at 07:35 AM 0 Comments

Fidel Castro – Friend of the Oppressed or Foe

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Are we right to judge, when icons like Fidel Castro eventually leave the stage? Do we simply leave it to posterity to arrive at conclusions on the legacy of this icon? There are many who see an enemy to modern freedoms but millions of others, observing from a different world-view, perceive a friend.

Many Africans, in the East/Southern African countries, put Castro at par with a Winston Churchill – and perhaps rightly so, when you consider the blood sacrifices to end apartheid, colonialism and imperialism especially at a time when it was considered de riguer to embrace these evils.

It may sound trite to repeat that all men have feet of clay or to make conjectures on whether the world would have been a better place if one of early attempts at Castro’s life had been successful … but more importantly, how should Christians react to a “Robin Hood” persona … supermen and women who take no prisoners, and have mastered the art of robbing Peter to pay Paul … and who will often stretch the norms of decency, occasionally brutally eliminating opposition to impose that which they may sincerely believe to be good. Loyalty is great, but God commands us to pray for our leaders.

Isaiah 6 [1] in the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

King Uzziah began to reign at the young age of sixteen years old, reigning for 52 years in Judah from approximately 790 to 739 BC, ruling for five years longer than Fidel, who governed the Republic of Cuba for 47 years as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2006. The Bible reveals an intelligent King Uzziah who did much that was good and right in the eyes of God, but who also made some serious blunders. This King was used by God to defeat many adversaries but became overconfident, leading to an incident in which he entered the temple of God to burn incense, declaring himself above following the laid down laws.

Eighty courageous priests, led by Azariah, tried but failed to stop the king … eventually leprosy broke out on his forehead and King Uzziah lived the rest of his life in a painful isolation … but still an extremely powerful influence. It was not until the year of his death, that the Prophet Isaiah received a fresh vision of God’s majesty, upon His throne.

I often shudder, when people are idolised … Obama once compared to Christ by some, Trump emerging as a cult-like god to others. It does suggest people have a natural inner longing to find heroes and were created for worship. This desire, if not matched by an encounter with God, will be satisfied by talented mortals …sometimes cloaked in religious, political or ideological robes.

Countries like Angola, South Africa, Venezuela and others may be right to revere the contributions of Castro to past struggles, but until they reconcile these and many other allegiances with the need to see clearly to free their nations out of many corrupt paradigms and past tensions … these countries remain apparently trapped in a strange decline.

God created man to worship, but not to worship other men … when men begin to bow before other men, it often leads eventually to confusion and wicked oppressions. God will use men to do some good, and Castro will have many positive points … but I sense, his final departure will only provide an opportunity for a clarity that will help Cuba revisit many previous assumptions and begin to chart a better way forward.

What did Isaiah see after Uzziah’s departure?

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

A true encounter with God will not be as a buzz in a political arena … a revival is not birthed on a platform of thoughtless exhilaration. I pray God will give the nations soberness … soberness that comes with deliverance out of idolatry … soberness that comes before many scorching corrections … in conjunction with a joy and thanksgiving that the world and its heroes can neither give nor can take away.

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