Avoid unnecessary shortcuts
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai,” (Gen 16:1-2)
It is to be noted that God honours His Words more than His name. Accordingly, the scripture could afford to say: “God is not man, that He should lie or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not fulfil it?” (Num. 23: 19). In the conversation that followed, we saw Abram bending backwards, as if God will not fulfil His promise unto him. Recall, Life Application Study Bible says that God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and travelling to a new land, where God promised to build a great nation from Abram’s family. Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God’s promise of even greater blessings in the future. God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness to Him. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s plan for you.
Interestingly, God planned to develop a nation of people He would call His own. He called Abram from the godless, self-centred city of Ur to a fertile region called Canaan, where a God-centred, moral nation could be established. Though small in dimension, the land of Canaan was the focal point for most of Israel, as well as for the rise of Christianity. This small land given to one man, Abram, has had a tremendous impact on world history. Yes, God knows how best to reward those that diligently follow His plans.
However, it is sad to note that Sarai gave Hagar to Abram as a substitute wife, a common practice of that time. A married woman who could not have children was shamed by her peers and was often required to give a female servant to her husband in order to produce heirs. The children born to the servant woman were considered the children of the wife. Abram was acting in line with the custom of the day, but his action showed a lack of faith that God would fulfil His promise. It is important to learn that a child of God should follow God’s programme no matter the pressure. He should not cast away his confidence in God, as this will result in a great reward (Heb. 10:35). A child of God needs to be faithful to God, as he/she struggles to get admission, promotion, peace and children in his marriage or breakthrough in his business. It is expected that he should not follow the multitude to sin. Remember, the stars shine brightest in the darkest skies. Therefore, one should not be involved in any success for which he cannot boldly give testimony.
People of God, it is important we avoid unnecessary short cuts in life. God’s blessing will surely come at the appointed time. We need not worry or doubt God’s ability to bring it about. If Abram had been a little patient, he could have proven God in his situation. Nevertheless, God insisted: “no, Sarai your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him,” (Gen. 17:19). And so, in fulfilment of God’s promise, the scripture notes thus: “And the Lord visited Sarah, as He had said and the Lord did for Sarah, as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac,” (Gen. 21:1-3).
Therefore, resist pressure or shortcuts or substitutes, but learn to allow God do His thing in His own way and at His own time. Certainly, He will not disappoint. Cheers!
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical
Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.