This is my first post for the month and before we discuss the marriage issue, I will want to appreciate my God, the giver of life and the giver of His word for the abundant grace we have to see the last month of the year 2019. God has really been good to us despite all the challenges of the year. Through the times are tough, but we are tougher. We give all our praises to God.
So, we continue in our discussion on the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. It is interesting that when Sarah asked Abraham to take her maidservant as wife and have a child by her, he agreed without hesitation, but what got my attention again in this story is that when Sarah told Abraham to send the bondwoman and her child away, he became reluctant.
But before we discuss that, we will notice something interesting about the husband Abraham in Genesis 17. It was in Genesis 16 that Hagar and Ishmael came into the picture of things, and the first thing God was going to say to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 was, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless.” Between the time of God's visitation in Genesis 17 and the birth of Ishmael in Genesis 16 was about 13years. If God ever spoke to Abraham in the 13years that he fathered Ishmael, we don’t know but there was no record of such speaking until Genesis 17.
From my observation, the purpose of God’s visitation in Genesis 17 was to reinstate His covenant of making Abraham a father of many nations and at this time God demanded circumcision from Abraham and his entire household as a constant reminder of that covenant. He also changed Abraham's name from Abram to Abraham, all in the bid to instilled in Abraham's consciousness the covenant between them. It appears to me that Abraham probably didn’t understand God’s mission and so he kept whining about wanting a son till he got himself into sin.
But the interesting part of all the communication between Abraham and God is the position of God with regards to Sarah. Yes, there was a covenant that Abraham needed to be constantly reminded of, and a covenant can only be fulfilled through a covenant partner. As far as God was concerned the promised child can only come from Sarah the covenant wife. In God's faithfulness, Sarah could not have made all those sacrifices for nothing. What profit could her obedience to God and her husband yield to her if she went into her grave childless? God would never allow His children to trust Him in vain and He brings the harvest when it is sweetest the most.
In Genesis 17:15-19 we read about the discussion between God and Abraham on the issue of the covenant child, and in Genesis 17:17 Abraham fell facedown and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” and then he went on to beg God to pour the blessings on Ishmael instead saying, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
That for me was a selfish way to think by Abraham. He had fathered a child and that was just okay, but as Sarah mothered a child? Did that bother Abraham at all? Did he care if Sarah went to her grave barren? If he believed God when God promised him a child in Genesis 15 and it was credited to him as righteousness, then why could he not believe God on behalf of Sarah in Genesis 17. Was it all over and okay now that Ishmael has been born? These are my reasons for respecting Abraham so much as a friend of God and as a man of faith but not as a husband.
After all of this analysis, what is the lesson to hold onto in this part of the story of Abraham and Sarah’s marriage? Again, I will focus on the wives. To be a wife like Sarah takes a lot of effort but to reap the same reward as Sarah did is a very sweet experience. Against all the odds that we see coming from Abraham who happens to be her husband who should love and protect her and also is a friend of God without changing status, yet Sarah stayed by his side as his wife, obeying God and obeying her husband and when the time came for God to bless her came, He found her at the right place. She was still situated within the covenant of God in Abraham’s life.
So many times, as wives we seek the validation of our husbands, and in truth, we are not wrong, doing so. But when we don’t get the validation we need what do we do? When their love is not coming forth or their cooperation is lacking, do we just pick our bags and move. There is are blessings that your sacrifices have accrued to you but those blessings need to meet us at the right place.
The situation in your marriage will not always be pleasant but the sacrifices of obedience, submission, patience, positivity, perseverance and long-suffering that you have sown into it, will yield a bountiful harvest of joy and laughter, peace and love for you as long as you always keep God as your focus.