THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM (1)

When God called Abram to go out of his homeland in Haran to a foreign land, the land of Canaan. He obeyed and went, taking along with him his wife Sarai and his entire household, with all their properties. He left, not even knowing where exactly he was headed to. He trusted God enough to obey God. God said to Abram: AND I WILL MAKE OF YOU A GREAT NATION, AND I WILL BLESS YOU, AND MAKE YOUR NAME GREAT; AND YOU SHALL BE A BLESSING: AND I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS YOU, AND CURSE HIM WHO CURSES YOU: AND IN YOU SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED[Genesis 12:2-3].This has been fulfilled through Jesus Christ in whom all the families of the earth are being blessed.  Abram trusted God. The LORD continually renewed his promises to Abram and he did not stop trusting even when his body was physically getting old and weak. During famine, war, harvests, domestic tensions, Abraham kept on trusting the LORD and waiting for the fulfillment of his promise to give him a son.

One day, Abraham communed with God and told God that what he has physically was hinged upon his faithful servant, Eliezer of Damascus. The custom was to transfer heirship to a person born in the household in the absence of direct genetic offspring.  The LORD then drew his attention to the stars in heaven. God said: THIS SHALL NOT BE YOUR HEIR; BUT HE WHO SHALL COME FORTH OUT OF YOUR OWN BOWELS SHALL BE YOUR HEIR. LOOK NOW TOWARD HEAVEN, AND TELL THE STARS, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO NUMBER THEM: SO SHALL YOUR SEED BE.[Genesis 15: 4-5]. Abram believed God. Earlier on the LORD had told him: FEAR NOT ABRAM, I AM YOUR SHIELD, AND YOUR EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD. Genesis 15:1. Abraham believed in the LORD, long before his name was changed from Abram to Abraham. God was well pleased with him and he counted the faith of Abraham for righteousness.

THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY SAID FURTHER AFTER ABRAM HAD MADE SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS AS INSTRUCTED BY THE LORD:

KNOW FOR SURE THAT YOUR SEED SHALL BE A STRANGER IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND SHALL SERVE THEM. THEY WILL BE AFFLICTED FOR 400 YEARS. I WILL JUDGE THAT NATION WHOM THEY SHALL SERVE. AFTERWARDS, THEY WILL COME OUT WITH GREAT SUBSTANCE.YOU WILL GO TO YOUR FATHERS IN PEACE; AND SHALL BE BURIED IN GOOD OLD AGE. BUT IN THE FOURTH GENERATION THEY SHALL COME HERE AGAIN: BECAUSE THE INIQUITY OF THE AMORITES IS NOT YET FULL.[Genesis 15: 13-16]. This was fulfilled in the land of Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesees, in the days of Moses and Aaron. [Exodus 6:6-8; Exodus 12:35-36].

At the beginning of sunset, a deep sleep fell upon Abram and a horror and darkness fell upon him.as the LORD gave him the message. When it became dark it was visible that fire had passed through the sacrifice offered by Abram.[Genesis 15:7-12, 17]. That was proof that the sacrificial offering was pleasing to the LORD.

On that same day the LORD spoke more clearly to Abram: UNTO YOUR SEED I HAVE GIVEN THIS LAND, FROM THE RIVER OF EGYPT UNTO THE GREAT RIVER, THE RIVER EUPHRATES: THE KENITES, AND THE KENIZZITES, AND THE KADMONITES, AND THE HITTITES, AND THE PERIZZITES, AND THE REPHAIMS, AND THE AMORITES, AND THE CANAANITES, AND THE GIRGASHITES, AND THE JEBUSITES. [Genesis 15: 18-21].

While waiting for the promise of a child to be fulfilled and at the age of 85 years, he faced much persuasive pressure from Sarai, his wife. Sarai brought her maid, Hagar to her own husband in order to have child through her. Abraham[then called Abram], slept with his wife’s maid called Hagar, through whom he had his first child, a son named Ishmael, when Abram was 86 years old. That was not the perfect will of God, yet God promised to bless Ishmael and make him a populous and great nation[Genesis 16:10-14; 17: 15-21].

At the age of 99 years, his name was changed from Abram to Abraham by God, meaning father of many nations. God also established a covenant with Abraham by the rite of circumcision as a token.Every male child among the family of Abraham shall be circumcised. Anew born son shall be circumcised when he is eight days old. God gave his promise as the word and basis of the covenant to give to Isaac, the promised seed of Abraham, the whole of the land of Canaan. Genesis 17: 6-as in Genesis 17:21. His wife Sarai also had her name changed by God to Sarah, which means mother of nations. Both Abraham, his son Ishmael and all the males in his household were circumcised on the same day; Abraham at 99 and Ishmael at 13 years. [Genesis 17:23-27]. The man Abraham was very quick to obey the word of God. That was why he was overwhelmingly blessed.

A year later, according to the promise of God a son was born by Sarah after she had stopped the usual menstruation and well past menopause! It was the same promise which made both Abraham and Sarah to laugh in amazement and unbelief. Their mourning was turned into joy and dancing, because with God nothing shall be impossible.[Genesis 17:15-21; Genesis 18:1-15]. The LORD said; Is anything too hard for the LORD? Sarah denied laughing probably out of fear, but the LORD insisted that she laughed. The name of the child of promise is Isaac, which means laughter. The LORD made both Sarah and Abraham to laugh indeed at the ages of 100 years and 90 years respectively. [Genesis 21:1-7]. On the eighth day of his birth, Isaac was circumcised. Isaac grew up and was weaned. On the day that the child was weaned, Abraham made a great feast to celebrate.

THE LAST STRAW WHICH BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK: Sarah saw Ishmael mocking on the day of joyful celebration. She could not bear the drama.It would be recalled that Sarah had earlier subjected Hagar to harsh discipline because she ridiculed and despised Sarai, her mistress, when she got pregnant for Abraham. During her pregnancy, Hagar ran away, but the LORD God spoke to her through an angel to return to her mistress Sarai and be submissive to her. She obeyed God and was able to deliver her son Ishmael at home, under good care[Genesis 16:1-16]. However, Sarah could no longer bear the ridicule coming at different times from her bondwoman and her son, Ishmael! In her usual way of applying pressure, she forced Abraham to send out Hagar, her Egyptian servant with her son Ishmael! That unpleasant scenario which developed between Sarah and Hagar on the one hand and between them because of their sons Ishmael and Isaac on the other hand, resulted in Ishmael being sent out of his father’s house at the tender and sensitive age of about 15 years! Abraham was very sad and grieved because of Ishmael having to leave. God Almighty however told Abraham to listen to the voice of Sarah in sending out Hagar and Ishmael his first son because he was not the covenant child. God said: For in Isaac shall your seed be called. [Genesis 21:12]. However, God promised to make Ishmael and his descendants also great[Genesis 21:13]. 

When human beings across cultures stumble over the words and plans of God, they get into greater confusion. As soon as each person or culture finds the LORD as their God, peace of mind sets in. This is followed by peace within families, communities, cultures, nations and globally in that sequence. The LORD God, Almighty wants peace and prosperity for all mankind. However, this is not so, simply because of the deception, corruption and desperate wickedness inside unregenerate man.

The LORD God said: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. [Isaiah 45:22].

The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness. The world and all its inhabitants. [Psalms 24:1]. 

This year 2017 and beyond, may the LORD disband ALL those who try to mock your joy, your celebration, your blessings or your gifts and talents in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.  May the LORD strengthen the hands, hearts and minds of all those who boost your potentials. May your joy and peace increase as you look unto the LORD. The LORD is the real helper. He sends human and angelic help to boost the lives of those who trust in him. I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from where my help comes. My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. [Psalms 121: 1-2]. Have a blessed 2017 filled with the peace and joy of the LORD, in the name of Jesus. Shalom.

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