BIBLE STORIES (15): AND SARAH BEGAT ISAAC

I hate to apologise each time I have to do my Bible Story after a long while, though I know I owe it to you to put such out once in a while about our shared belief in the words of scripture as found in The Bible or Torah, as we continue in this journey of understanding and making sense of these inspired texts. The word of scripture is receiving a bashing daily in this age, I dare say more than ever before, more so from the purveyors of its every word, but that shouldn’t stop us from sharing the words off and from it, admonishing ourselves with it, and living lives worthy of emulation with the words from it.

In Genesis Chapter 21 (following from chapter 20 where we last were), Sarah conceived and was delivered of a son which Abraham named Isaac according to the promise YAHWEH made them if you recall, in chapter 17 of Genesis when Abraham and Sarah were a hundred years and ninety years respectively. The name ISAAC had to do with LAUGHTER because Sarah laughed when that message was delivered, also many were expected to laugh with her as they celebrated the joy that has finally come into her life. You need to see how women, even men splash pictures of their babies and children on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as evidence of virility and fertility, and how subdued in that aspect those who have challenges conceiving are, even in sending congratulatory messages to those who were fortunate to have such bundles of joy, to understand the kind of laughter women (even men) would’ve indulged in, in the situation Abraham and Sarah found themselves after all the years without child.

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At a point, if you recall, Sarah even had to give over her Egyptian maid to Abraham to have seed by her, with which he complied and had Ishmael, even though YAHWEH continued to assure Abraham that it he will have a son by Sarah with whom HE “…will establish MY covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Genesis 17:19). It easier only in hindsight to conclude that Sarah should’ve waited for YAHWEH’s time, but only those who have never experienced the pain of childlessness will say such things. Women in Sarah’s former condition face a lot of pressure, not least from their own parents, talk more from their in-laws. In African societies accusing fingers are usually pointed at the woman even when available research now show that men bear an equal burden, if not more of the responsibility related to challenges with conception, and though there are medical interventions available to turn the situation around for good, some of them are quite expensive without a 100% guarantee.

Now, do allow me to digress a little here. We all know how emotive discussions around conception, assisted conception and the likes can be when the issue of religion comes up, much like it is amongst some certain christian sects not to receive or permit blood transfusion because in Deuteronomy 12:23 we are admonished not to “eat” blood, “…for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh”, a reason why KOSHER is a thing with Jews. Blood is to be poured “…upon the earth as water” (verse 24), and I wonder if “eating” blood is the same as TRANSFUSING blood especially if the purpose is to save life. Interestingly, many lives have been left unsaved by reason of the above bible passage by adherents of the christian denomination in question, but that is another topic for another day.

With regards to “conception” some say it is wrong to produce semen, especially by “masturbation” that can be used for tests or/and for purposes of assisted conception as it will be akin to ONANISM which is “withdrawal of the penis in sexual intercourse so that ejaculation takes place outside the vagina; otherwise called coitus interruptus” in reference to ONAN, Judah’s son in the Genesis 38:9 who against his father’s instructions to make seed of his late brother “Er”, knowing full well, “….that the seed should not be his, ….went in unto his (late) brother’s wife, (and) spilled IT (semen) on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother”. The aftermath of this was that Onan died also because what he did displeased YAHWEH! (verse 10). Masturbation is also rendered Onanism, which is why many frown at the act, though research show that many people of both sexes engage in the act.

I did say that the act of expelling semen, not into the females’ reproductive apparatus during coitus but into a specimen bottle is considered by many as onanism, hence an act that will displease The Almighty, and is therefore discouraged amongst many bible-believing people as immoral, even when it is of couples who can afford assisted conception and would very much like to partake in the procedures that will enable them carry their own bundle(s) of joy. From where I stand, this is like turning the scriptures on its head, I believe that the fact that Abraham and Sarah waited for years, doesn’t mean those who have today found themselves with challenges associated with conception and there are indications that they can benefit from assisted conception, should wait that long as well, especially when science and technology can aid conception by artificial means, and the couple(s) in question can afford it. Many homes despite the love that exists between the couples, would’ve been broken today if the various means of assisted conception available today hadn’t been explored.

If you recall, YAHWEH fed the children of Israel MANNA in the wilderness for forty years, but once they “…had eaten of the old corn of the (Promised) Land, neither had the children of Israel MANNA anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year”, which is to say that once YAHWEH has provided the means, he doesn’t anymore need to perform the miracles he did when the means wasn’t available. YAHWEH created only once, and left the job of procreation for us. Some of the cases of miraculous births we hear today, have turned out to be false, even as “BABY FACTORIES” are rearing up their heads all over town, especially in Eastern Nigeria. Has anyone bothered to ask who the beneficiaries of these babies are? Some other people undergo In Vitro Fertilization, IVF successfully, but don’t mention that when they come to give testimony in church, thereby leading many astray to think it was by the pastors’ prayers that it came to be, leading some women into the hands of charlatans who take advantage of the women to input their “holy” semen into them over many nights of rigorous “vigil” either within the church premises, or outside of it, of “holy sexual intercourse” between the pastor/prophet/imam/sheik and the gullible woman seeking “the fruit of the womb”, and I have seen videos of such!

What I am saying is this, faith is good and it is good for us to pray about what we want and need, but we are admonished in James 2:14 to the effect that, “what doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?” Further in verse 17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone”, and verse 24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”. So my brothers and sisters, you cannot win the lottery without buying the ticket, much like you cannot impregnate that sister without sex, and if you have a low sperm count and she has tubal blockage (especially bilaterally) you will need assisted conception. I believe in miracles, and YAHWEH does that bountifully in our lives, the large percentage of which we hardly acknowledge, but I repeat that YAHWEH will not be involved in something he had already provided a solution for, therefore you can buy paracetamol, pray ‘pon it and take it for your headache. See, even Paul (well versed in things miraculous) didn’t ask Timothy (Chapter 5:23) to invoke Holy Ghost Fire for his stomach condition, rather he encouraged him to, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities”.

When it was prophesied that in our time, knowledge will increase, YAHWEH didn’t mean that all of the knowledge will be evil and no good to come out of it. The knowledge of science and technology and what medical advancements affords us in our time is for us. Even Yahshua, who performed great miracles while he lived on earth and taught us a NEW WAY, when asked by the devil to “…cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6), as He is the Son Of YAHWEH responded tersely with the words, “…It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt YAHWEH thy Elohim” (verse 7). Many of the things we ask in prayer today is akin to tempting YAHWEH, which is why James said in chapter 4 verse 3 that, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask AMISS…”.

I cannot continue anymore now, I thought I would digress for a few lines and come back to the story, but as it appears, going further will only bore you, so I will stop for now, and let you bask in the joy of knowing that despite all the years of childlessness, Sarah did have Isaac, the PROMISED ONE but that definitely isn’t the end of the story, for what is to come greatly shaped the world’s religion and its politics even to this day, probably will continue to shape things to the end of the world. Have fun again!

‘kovich

REFERENCE:
– THE WORD OF YAHWEH, © 2000

PICTURE CREDIT:
http://flikr.com

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