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Friday, 29 November 2019

The Sacrifice May be Big, But the Harvest is for Sure Bigger

A lot of times when I consider the man Abraham, I marvel at the strong bond between him and God. This was a man that God would say of in Genesis 18:17 that “shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” But in all of Abraham’s believe and walk with God, his life as a married man leaves a lot to be desired of.
In Genesis 15:2-6, Abraham petitioned God for a son, he didn’t want a servant in his household becoming his heir and to that end, he did nothing wrong. Immediately he made that request, God promised Abraham a son and even sons as many as the sands of the seashore and as the stars in the sky and we are told that Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.
But in the next chapter (Genesis 16), we read that Abraham’s wife had borne him no children, but she had an Egyptian maidservant. She told Abraham to take the maidservant Hagar and sleep with her and have children with her and Abraham agreed.
Now reading this on the surface, everyone will blame Sarah for taking such a call. And bad as it may look, I would rather blame Abraham for agreeing to such a call. Remember he is the husband, the head of the home and the leader of the family, he bears the responsibility of that decision far more than Sarah his wife. He had spoken with God received God's promise on his request, so what went wrong? 
The second puzzle that came to my mind on this matter is that; what would make Sarah consider giving her maidservant to her husband to be his wife? I am trying to put myself into Sarah’s shoes and imagine what will make me marry another woman for my husband because I can bear him no child. It's not just about Abraham not having children, it’s about Sarah also not having children. And this gives me so much respect for the person of Sarah at how much she was willing to sacrifice for the happiness of her husband even when it hurts her deep inside.
No woman in her right mind would be willing to make such an offer except for the level of the sacrificial heart such as Sarah had. We remember that in Genesis 12:10-20, she made one of such big sacrifices for the peace of her marriage based on her trust in God. Again, here we see Sarah making another of such sacrifices. As far as she was concerned her husband’s happiness was of big importance to her. But did Abraham feel the same way towards his wife? Was he willing to sacrifice as much for the happiness of Sarah his wife? That much we might never know as it was not stated in the scriptures, but all that we know is that Abraham agreed to Sarah’s offer and took Hagar the maidservant as wife, slept with her and she conceived for him. But if you ask me, I will say that Abraham was been insensitive to the feelings of his wife by agreeing to her offer.
The beautiful aspect of this story is that even though Abraham did to see and appreciate the sacrifices of Sarah, God did and that is why there remained a promise-child that could only come from the womb of Sarah. That child Isaac was the only child God reckoned as Abraham’s child and all of God’s promises and the covenants God made with Abraham was made manifest through that one child Isaac.
So, as wives, we take our learnings again from the life of Sarah. What sacrifices do you need to make for the peace and progress of your marriage that you are not making yet? Are you holding your husband’s attitude and negativity as a reason for your own failures as a wife? If Sarah didn’t do that, then you shouldn’t. I know and acknowledge that it can be tough been a sacrificial wife to a none appreciative husband but your validation does not reside in your husband, it rests in God. What your husband fails to see, God sees them all and the harvest of the sacrifices you sow in your marriage is far bigger when it is God watching over your seed to bring about a harvest than the acknowledgment of your husband.
As a wife, if you have not started sowing those sacrificial seeds in your marriage, then start now because it is only those who sow that expects a harvest. And if you have been sowing please don’t stop and seeds need time to grow. But your harvest is sure and far bigger than the weight of the sacrifices you have made and are making. Just keep trusting God and keep on sowing those seeds. I have been there before and so I know.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

When Obedience Doesn't Make Sense

And so, we move on in our study of marriages in the Bible and in particular the study of Abraham's marriage. There are so many lessons to learn from the marriage of Abraham and Sarah.
Genesis 12:10-20 tells us about how Abraham continued with his journey of the call of God in his life. It was in Genesis 12:1-3 that God called Abraham to embark on a journey leaving his father’s household behind, but still within that same chapter, we read something interesting that Abraham did.
In Genesis 12:10-20 we read that there was famine in the land and Abraham went down to Egypt, but just before entering into Egypt, he called his wife and told her not to say she was not his wife but his sister. The first thing that got me wondering is that if Abraham whom we read of in later books of the Bible that he was a friend of God and he believed in God and it was created to him as righteousness could not trust God to protect him from the hands of the Egyptians without putting his wife in harms way then there is a need for men to be very careful. Even those who are considered men of God. I respect Abraham so well as a man of faith, but as a husband, I believe he didn’t do so well.  
But that said, the lesson in this passage is for the wives reading this blog. I am trying to imagine what was going through the mind of Sarah when her husband made that proposal to her. Was she so in love with Abraham to have obeyed him so blindly or was she more of a woman of faith than her husband to obey her husband as the Lord had asked her to do even in the face of danger?
Going by the report of her in 1 Peter 3:5-6 and the way God defended her all through her years of marriage, I want to believe that she was more of a woman of faith in God than a woman in love. I do not believe that Sarah agreed to lie about her status as Abraham’s wife just to show her love to her husband, it would have been a situation of trusting God to protect her as she obeys her husband as He (God) had asked her to do.
Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Peter 3:1-6 all says the same thing; “wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord,” and what we see Sarah display in Genesis 12:10-20 is the height of what God is calling the wives into in their marriages, and God will surely defend our obedience to His word for our lives.
When I first had the divine revelation of Sarah’s obedience in marriage, it felt like an impossible thing to do for us in our generation today. It’s almost just impossible for a woman to put herself in harm’s way like Sarah did just in the bid to submit to her husband in fulfillment of God’s instruction. To us it cannot be God telling us to obey His words to that extent; God can’t be so cruel. More so, when adultery is a sin, and then we run through the many what-ifs in our minds and tell ourselves God will understand if we disobey just this one time.
But for Sarah, she never doubted God. For her, there were no what-ifs, her husband said it and she did it anyway. And God in His usual faithful manner came through for her just at the right time when she needed Him to. I have also trusted God for this kind of submission in my marriage. My husband has never asked me to deny my identity as his wife but I have learned to obey him on so many occasions where we have extremely different and conflicting views about situations and instructions he has given. I have learned to obey him even when it wasn’t in any way or form convenient for me to obey. And not once have I had to regret such acts of obedience since I have allowed God to take the wheel of my marriage. And above all, I have earned my husband’s respect and trust simply because I obey God in obeying him.  

Saturday, 23 November 2019

First Lesson from Abraham's Marriage

I guess the next marriage to learn from would be the marriage of Abraham. Though Noah’s life came before that of Abraham, little was said about his marriage. So, we can as well just move on to Abraham. The first thing that came to my mind in the marriage story of Abraham is found in Genesis 12:4-5. When God called Abraham and he obeyed, he didn’t set out alone, he set out in the company of his wife Sarah. I understand that he also took Lot his nephew with him but we will notice that by the time we get to chapter 13 of Genesis, he had to drop Lot off. But the journey of his life, his obedience to the calling of God over his life was done with Sarah his wife right by his side.
Bearing in mind that Abraham and Sarah were no longer two but one, we will appreciate why Sarah could not be dropped off. In the same manner, the Abrahams of today, husbands of today need to understand fully that there is no calling on their lives, there should be no pursuit in their lives that warrants the husband leaving his wife behind.
In thoughts, actions, plans, and purpose of a man, he needs to carry his wife along with him as he journeys on, in order to attain good success in his life’s journey. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work,” this is just as simple as it is, planning for two and planning with the other in mind and engaging the other in mind as thought is more rewarding than planning alone. Even Jesus says in Matthew 18:19 that if two agree as concerning anything they ask for; it will be done for them by our Father in heaven.

The fact that Abraham journeyed on in obedience to the call of God for his life and carried his wife along is one big lesson I want to start the gleanings from Abraham’s marriage with. Marriage is not a competition between two intelligent individuals. It is not a superiority contest between a man and his wife. But rather it is a man on a journey to a Promised Land in the company of his suitable helper, his destiny helper, the embodiment of God’s favor for his life whom he is assigned to love with his life, cherish, hold in high esteem and respect well so that nothing will hinder his prayers.

Friday, 22 November 2019

When the Sons of God Marry the Daughter of Men

So, we continue in our gleanings of the word of God for marriages in the Bible that we can learn from. Between the time of Adam to Noah and then to Abraham nothing much was said about marriage other than the fact that the men were having children and we know that these children were conceived by their wives. But nothing definite was said concerning marriage. But just as I am about to jump to the marriage of Abraham, my attention is drawn to Genesis chapter 6.

Genesis 6:1-3
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

You might wonder why the sons of God marrying the daughters of men became something of an issue to God for Him to declare that His Spirit will not contend with man forever. Before this chapter, we will notice that men were leaving for up to 900 years and more. As a matter of fact, if not for the fall of man at the garden of Eden probably man would never have had any business with death. God did not forbid Adam from eating from the tree of life, so to say, that God’s plan was actually for man to live forever. But now, man not was just having death to deal with, man’s life span was being cut short and you wonder why?
When I began to seek the face of God for a clearer understanding of this matter, the Lord dropped in my spirit that the sons of God should be seeking God for a wife and not choosing wives for themselves. Beyond the beauty of the daughters of men lies hidden virtues and vices that only God knows about. It is only God who owns the ability to choose the appropriate and fitting wife of the daughters of men for the sons of God. This act of inappropriate independence by the sons of God was enough to cause God to make the declaration that His Spirit will not contend with man forever. If man had begun to exhibit independence from God and choose wives for themselves then they are indirectly telling God they don’t need Him any longer.
The interesting thing is that we still have many sons of God in our generation who still see the daughters of men that they are beautiful and they marry any of them they choose to without first seeking the face of God. As we proceed in our study on marriages in the Bible, we will come across the making of a life partner. And I am sure it was discussed earlier in the study of the marriage of Adam and Eve.
When God was to make Eve, He made her to the specification fitting for Adam. He made Eve as a helper suitable (fitting, ideal, comparable) to Adam. So, she was not just any woman, she was made specifically for Adam. In the same way, God has painstakingly made a wife suitable to, fitting to, ideal for every son of God He created. Without God, the sons of God cannot identify the daughters of men that God has created for them as wives. So, in the cause of marrying as they chose, they were mismatching each other. So to say, that they were marrying wrongly and that alone was enough to make God declare that His Spirit cannot contend with man any longer.
I have spoken to men who after marriage have concluded that they married the wrong woman. Some men have even gone the path of getting a divorce. But I dare to say that two wrongs never make a right. If you didn’t seek the face of God before marrying your wife and things aren’t going right, divorce is not the way out. There is no point when you invite God into your marriage that He doesn’t step into it, to right all the wrongs in it. He made that woman you call wife, and He can remake her into the woman fitting for you when you let Him and yield to His intervention.
Marrying wrong is not a death sentence, and seeking a divorce is also not the remedy. At whatever point you call God into the situation and let Him turn around the situation for good, yielding to His leading and following every instruction He gives to you, then you are on the road path to a beautiful marital experience. 

Thursday, 21 November 2019

The Husband is Accountable to God

I am really so very sorry for the inconsistency of sharing with you on the marriage blog throughout this year. It’s a big shame on me considering the fact that I know quite a lot of people take the time to read what I write. I could have given the reason of work for this but in truth, that isn’t good enough so I would simply just apologize.
We had started a series of learning from the marriages in the Bible and we will just continue from there. What I shared last was about Eve staying within the confines of the leadership of her husband as the head of the home. The importance of submission in marriage cannot be overemphasized but the wife alone does not make a marriage, so we need to have a look at the second component of marriage which is the husband and the head of the marriage. We will be looking at the husband from the viewpoint of Adam.

Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her.

Before going on with our study, I needed to, first of all, check another translation of this passage to have a clear understanding of what it says. Remember that Adam is the husband, he is the leader of the union, and then he was the one to whom God gave the instruction not to eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil. And then he was with Eve when she ate of the fruit of which God said they should not eat because the Bible says “she gave some to her husband who was also with her.”
When the serpent was speaking to Eve and he was with her why didn't he stand to her defense? Why didn't he rebuke that serpent and take the lead that he was assigned to take? Why didn’t he stop Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of which God said they should not eat most especially when he was the direct recipient of the instruction? These questions are what is coming up in my mind when it comes to the role of Adam in that marriage.  These for me are the failures of Adam. No matter how we try to blame Eve for her errors, I think Adam share a larger portion of the blame.

Genesis 3:9
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Let’s now see this from the eyes of God. When the Lord was going to seek an account for the wrong that has been done, He didn’t ask Eve, He called out to the man. This is simply because the responsibility of the union rests on the head of the man who is the head of the marriage union and home. He is the one answerable to God over the affairs of the home.
In today’s world there are still so many Adam husbands around. It is so important that the husband and wife work together in agreement but the responsibility of the marriage union rests on the husband. If a marriage fails the world might seek accountability from the wife, but God will seek accountability from the husband. And that is why we read in Malachi 2:16-19 that God warns the husband to be careful and not break faith with the wife of his youth.
The husband is assigned by God to lead his wife, protect his wife, care for her and love her as Christ loves the Church and died for her and he is answerable to God over her life. This is deeper than just as simple as it appears on this blog and I pray the Lord will enlighten the hearts of the husbands and give them a divine revelation of the matter.