I love reading the story of Abraham, infact I could never get enough of it. It serves as a source of inspiration for me, when I fall into a state of depression and despair. This guy sure did live in very interesting times and of course lived an interesting life, of FAITH (and total submission to the will of YAHWEH).
Let me share with you another of those stories relating to him, as recorded in the book of Genesis Chapter 15.
One contentious issue in spirituality today involves the hearing of the voice of YAHWEH. Many people claim to hear His voice, ranging from members of clergy of various religions, just any other individual, even drug addicts and schizophrenics. The messages they receive range from the sensible, to the absurd and to the most ridiculous. In Nigeria, politicians in power usually claim they’ll consult and hear the voice of the Almighty before making decisions, as to whether or not to run for political office. Interestingly, the response has always been in the affirmative.
Back to Abraham, who is still been referred to as Abram at this time, received the word of YAHWEH in a vision, in these words- “l am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”.
As with many married men without kids after many years of marriage, Abram responded, “Sovereign YAHWEH, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?”
Obviously, if Abraham died without an heir, his chief steward would inherit him. Something I’m sure Eliezer would’ve been looking forward to considering that Abram was considerably wealthy.
YAHWEH assured Abram that Eliezer will not be his heir but “…he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir”, HE went further by showing Abram the stars, it’s inumerability and the fact that his SEED shall be so likened.
The interesting thing here is, we are told that Abram believed in YAHWEH and it was counted unto him for righteousness. An attitude only very few men and women in his situation will be found in these days. Indeed, to say that childless couples go through quite a number of challenges is an understatement. The pressure in societies like Africa (and elsewhere around the world) from family, friends and acquaintances, sometimes overtly or covertly is enormous, and leaves tell tale signs on the relationships between the affected couples in the main, and with those that are associated with them.
The desire to turn their condition around pushes them in most cases to indulge in unwholesome practices. Though advances in medicine have made possible what was hitherto thought impossible (though relatively expensive in most parts of the world), the bulk of those who need these treatments haven’t been able to procure them.
They’ve however opened themselves to the shenanigans of charlatans who’ve robbed them of their hard earned money as well as, in some cases their souls.
Last year, a video of a naked woman been “laid” by a skinny man suspected to be a pastor, while she lying on a bench, clutching a bible under her head, while making pronouncement as ordered by the pastor went viral, though clearly in a state I couldn’t describe so much as being one of distress and ecstasy, she amidst tears made her prayers. All because she wanted a child.
I know a couple, who after six years of waiting, decided to call it quits after the wife discovered to her chagrin that a woman had conceived for her husband, then delivered of a baby boy, and though they were Muslims where the man is allowed to marry a maximum of four wives at a time, she felt betrayed because she felt they shared so much love between them to make such a reality a near impossibility, moreso she was shattered because she heard the news from a third party.
I do not have statistics to back this claim, but married couples who are childless appear to be more into extramarital affairs than their counterparts who have children, and some of those who think they are “secure” find out later, in the case of the men that their so called children were actually fathered by other men, after DNA tests are carried out.
Though Abram will remain steadfast, he would soon have to compromise by listening to the voice of his wife, but that will be topic for another day.
Besides, the promise of a “Seed” to Abram, YAHWEH further started that he will give him the land on which he stands as inheritance, but Abram wasn’t satisfied and asked, “..whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?”
At this point YAHWEH asks him to take up some animals for sacrifice, but as he laid them up, some fowls (of the air) came down to feast on the carcasses of the animals, to which Abram reacted by driving them away.
Apparently Abram had woken up from the first vision, for he was soon tired after the last activity that he fell into a deep sleep. This was the point at which something from which I have continued to maintain the belief in the presence and existence of a SUPREME BEING happened. I’m referring to prophecy, and The Bible contains them in large numbers. Prophecies personal, familial, relating to a people, place, things, even of people and places unknown to people of the time, describing technology yet unknown at the time they were given.
Hence, when a deep sleep fell upon Abram as the Sun was going down, a horror of great darkness fell upon him, and these profound words came off the lips of YAHWEH to Abram concerning a child he doesn’t yet have.
“…..Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (referring to the journey Jacob’s children will make from Canaan to Egypt at a time of worldwide famine) and shall serve them (at a time a Pharaoh that didn’t know Joseph came to power, and felt to enslave the Hebrews, as their numbers became threateningly large, and the fear was rife that they may join with Egypt’s enemies at a time of war to overrun the land, if they consider the action to be in their own interest); and they shall afflict them four hundred years (at which point YAHWEH will hear their cry and send them a deliverer in the person of Moses, whose life as an infant was spared in the most miraculous of ways, reminiscent of what we find with the Saviour-child in the New Testament);”
The Almighty goes further to establish what HE’s earlier said by stating that “And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge (in that the Egyptians suffered greatly for the incalcitrance of their god-king Pharaoh Ramses): and afterward shall they come out with great substance (as the children of Israel came out of Egypt with much loot the Egyptians readily offered them when they asked according to YAHWEH’s command, the much of which was used in framing the ‘Golden Calf’ when they rebelled).
In essence, Abram wasn’t to worry about having a kid, seeing that the path the kid and his offsprings will career has been laid down (bringing me to the issue of DESTINY, another topic for another day). The redemption of these sons of Abram will be timed to the end of the civilization of the Amorites, whose iniquity at this time was “…not yet full”.
Abram woke up to find that the sacrifices have been lit, thereafter YAHWEH made a covenant with him saying, “…Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates (which will effectively extend the boundaries of present-day Israel to Iraq)”, lands that were in the hands of “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”, which lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian question and Israel’s reaction and body language regarding the ‘Holy Land’.
And though Israelites will come to be in the promised land as prophesied, they’ll be displaced many times by the empire-civilizations of the day, to a near permanent displacement in 70 AD/CE for almost 2000 years by the Romans, in fulfillment of another prophecy by YAHSHUA in the book of Matthew Chapter 24, who will then rename the area Palestine after a while. Interestingly, the people who tookover afterwards failed to rename the ancient places and important landmarks, which bouyed and played some role (howbeit less prominently) in the ALIYAH, and after the Israelis were restored by a resolution of the United Nations in 1948.
I don’t know if a prophecy concerning the future of what you daily request for in prayer does much to allay your concerns about the possibility of getting same, but it sure did allay Abram’s such that it strengthened his faith, until such a time he had to bow to the whims of his wife, as we shall see in the next instalment.
That however didn’t take away from the fact that Abram remained faithful even in want, and in the midst of contrariness, until YAHWEH answered his prayer.
I pray we all have the strength to be as faithful as Abram was, so that we will go beyond merely lipsing the song “Abraham’s Blessings Are Mine.”
Genesis Chapter 15 verses 1-21, THE WORD OF YAHWEH, 2000