Title: When Men of the Force Need a Greater Force
Author: Gbile Akanni
Page Number: 48
Publishers: Peace House Publications, P. O. Box 971, 19 Gyado Hospital Road, GRA, Gboko, Benue State.
Copyright Date: November 2014.
Type of Book: Trade Paperback.
General Subject Matter: Christian/Evangelical
Book Format & Organisation: The book is the standard 8V0 – Octavo size of the trade paperback and it is bound with two pins. Its pages are composed of 100g white paper, and the book is divided into four (4) chapters. There is also a table of content and introduction.
Cover Design: The background colour of the cover page is lime green, while the wordings of the title are in black and crimson red. There is no specific acknowledgement by the author for the cover design of this book. Below the title of the book is a lower limb image of a soldier in green uniform holding a rifle with its nozzle pointing downwards.
Special Features: There is no map, tables or index in the book.
Price: Not stated in the book.
Introduction: The author acknowledges the divine role, purpose and sacred responsibilities of the various branches of any nation’s armed forces in protecting the territorial integrity of a nation. The Bible records instances where God intervened to assist and aid the armed forces, with the assurances that God would intervene even today to help his own at the time of need.
In the first chapter of the book titled, “Naaman: An Army General.” The Chapter commences with a quote from 2 King 5: 1-5. The author compares Naaman to a modern-day Army General who was at the peak of his career. Everything was okay for him except that he was a leper and his high-rank position of influence in the government of Syria could not purchase the healing of his leprosy. The author referred to the treatment of lepers in those days and reasoned that the Syrian king and his army might have tolerated Naaman because of his previous military exploits and the strategic value he brought to the battlefield. Naaman travelled to Israel with a large government delegation from Syria, and the author explains that Naaman’s trip was like when government officials and VIPs travel abroad today. Naaman’s secret leprosy is compared to secret problems that people hide beneath the façade of success. There was always a problem that required a greater force than the force of the armed forces!
The chapter is a poignant excursion into the arrogance of the Syrian king who seemingly gave an order to the king of Israel and Naaman’s anger at being instructed to dip himself into the Jordan River. Naaman, although an army general, was used to dishing out orders. However, his predicament and wise counsel of those around him had humbled him to the point that he had no other option but obeyed Elisha. The author reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as the greater force that the world needs today for the healing of their “leprosy.”
Chapter Two is titled “Zacheaus, A Chief Custom Officer.” The relevant scripture for the chapter is taken from Luke 19: 1 – 9. Here, the author compares Zacheaus to a present-day customs officer who has made a lot of wealth from bribery, illegal taxation, corruption, and dealing with contrabands. This custom officer who must have swindled many people was hated and regarded as a sinner by people who knew about his negative exploits. The author is quick to point out that wealth can never bring peace to the heart, else Zacheaus would not have taken the pains of looking out for Jesus, a greater force which he required to fix his life. Jesus knew that Zacheaus on the sycamore tree. He knew and called him by name and offered to be his guest. In the same way, Jesus knows our location, name, and he stands, knocking on the door of our heart. The author encourages everyone who has abused power like Zacheaus to repent and accept Jesus for the healing of their hearts.
Chapter Three is titled “The Centurion.” The Scripture in this chapter commences with Luke 7: 3 – 10. The Centurion was an army captain who was loved by his people because he had built them a synagogue. He was a man of authority and appreciated what a command structure was like in the army. He understood that there was a greater force in Jesus and his ability to speak words of healing that could deliver his servant without his stepping into his house.
The author refers to another centurion in the Bible called Cornelius (Acts 10: 1 – 6), and points out that, like Cornelius, many members of today’s armed forces are desirous of salvation and the knowledge of Jesus. The author explains that salvation in Christ to be akin to a “quantum jump” in physics. The men of the armed forces are faced with certain peculiar occupational hazards, and Jesus understands their problems. The proper step to finding peace is accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Chapter Four, the last chapter of the book, is titled, “Greater Force on the Job.” The author reminds the reader that it was God that placed them in whatever job they find themselves in today for his purpose. The Lord himself is the invisible commander of all armed forces of the world. There are demonic spirits behind the lawlessness, armed robbery, cultism, and every wicked act in society. Satan requires loopholes or legal grounds to be able to operate through people. Jesus is the one who is stronger than the strongman. The madman of Gadarenes is used as a point of illustration (Matthew 5: 1 – 7). God wants his children to be like Jesus (Romans 8: 29). The case of the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 7 – 11) is also retold and reviewed by the author. There is a need for children of God to have clean hands before hastily judging others for their sins.
Book Evaluation & Review:
Gbile Akanni, the author of the book, needs no introduction as he is a veteran itinerant preacher who is well known in the Christian community of Nigeria. When Men of the Force Need a Greater Force is a book that appears to be restrictively written for armed forces personnel because it exclusively focuses on Biblical characters who served in their nation’s armed forces, and the book regularly refers to contemporary military culture in explaining the points made by the author. But then, we all know that all Christians are called to be soldiers in the army of Christ (2 Timothy 2: 3), and as such, this book is for every Christian. Reading through the book, it is obvious that the author has deep respect and empathy for members of the armed forces, especially regarding institutional discipline and command structure of the armed forces. Gbile’s message in this book is that there is a greater commander/force of all the armies of the world and his name is Jesus Christ!
In my humble opinion, since the narrative is themed on the culture of the armed forces, I expected that the author would have also referred to all the prominent battles in the Bible like Joshua in Jericho, Gideon against the Midianites, Saul against the Amalekites, and David against Goliath. The role of the “Greater Force” in these battles would have been evident too. The author, however, focused on the personal issues or problems of the three Biblical characters in the armed forces which he used for his illustrations. Perhaps, the author was constrained by a decision to write an hour read book.
Overall, this is a good book worth read, from a different perspective.