I can hear many people shout, “yes ooo!” Fine! Tall ambition! But the big question is, “Can you do those things that Abraham did, which warranted the blessings of God upon him?”.
I have noticed that what our people normally want are already-made or well prepared things. No one wants to be stressed up. No one wants to be sent if it is to go to the beehive and get some honey because they are afraid of being stung by the bees. But if you call them and tell them the honey is ready for consumption, you will see them scramble and jump over all other people. They will not allow those who have no muscles to flex get a taste of it. That was what happened to the cripple by the pool of Bethesda. Whenever the pool was stirred only those who could jump in first received their healing. It was like that for him for thirty eight whole years until Christ came his way.
You can notice, and should not really blame that cripple, that he answered off point when Christ asked him if he wanted to be made well. He merely lamented his tribulation and thought it was right to tell this august visitor (Christ) how he had no one to help him each time the pool was stirred, and other people always over took him (Jn.5:1-15). Many of us always have people overtaking them each time they try to run. Do not worry if you are in this group. Christ will surely come your way one day.
Abraham was one man who was ready to go to the beehive or even lion’s den, notwithstanding what the consequences would be, as long as it was for the Lord. He would not mind if he was stung by the bees! It was for this reason, that is, reason of his faithfulness to God that God blessed, indeed, over-blessed him. It is this blessing everyone now claims to be theirs. You can, of course, trust our people when it comes to matters like this. When someone is successful in life, everyone would claim to be his or her relation, even when the distance between them is like from here to London. But anyone who is poor is never anyone’s brother or sister.
In this article, we are going to look at those things which made Abraham the man to be blessed by God. We shall look at what those blessings are. Finally, we shall ask ourselves questions to know whether we are doing enough to deserve the blessings of Abraham.
You know, it is easier to desire something than to get it. Blessings of Abraham are not things one inherits by claiming to be a “son or child of Abraham”. If you are a son or child of Abraham who is entitled to inherit his blessings, you must prove your entitlement by words, deeds and general conducts.
Let me say here that I remember clearly that I had once written on the topic ABRAHAM’S BLESSINGS ARE MINE on this column. But I do not remember anything I wrote in that article which is repeated here. What I am doing here is looking at the same thing through a different angle. I know it will please you.
From the biblical records of the genealogy of Abraham, there is no doubt that he was the first son of Terah (Gen. 11:26). He was also a good man, faithful and obedient to God, accommodating and peace loving. He was also a man of valour. How?
The first recorded encounter Abraham (Abram as he then was) had with God was when God called him and asked him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household to a land He would show him (Gen. 12:1).
There are a lot of things spectacular about Abraham’s call. Firstly, he was not told the place he was going to. It was like a movement down a dark bottomless pit. Secondly, it was a hard journey because he was to move and turn his back on his relations whether of his country or his father’s household. Thirdly, God did not tell him what he was sending him to that place to do. Yet, he moved or obeyed God without a single question as to where he would eventually be shown. Can you do it?
Most people would first have wanted to know where they would be taken to. A typical Nigerian would have told God that if it is not America, Germany, United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia, they would not go.
A typical Nigerian would have been so much bothered by the relations and property or personal belongings they would leave behind.
As a matter of fact, because of the “you tell me one thing and do another thing” syndrome in this nation, many people would even have doubted whether God would not do “419” on them, if they obeyed.
Abram did not ask questions. He did not doubt God’s promises to him. He simply, obeyed. The Bible says that he left, as the Lord had told him (Gen.12:4).
You will remember that Abraham was seventy five years old when he left Haran. Many of us would have used age as a reason for not obeying God. For some, they would have asked God why He did not call them when they were younger. They would even have accused Him of sending them out on a long journey to nowhere for them to die on the road. Abram never did such thing!
Again, remember that Abram had no child at the time. You know many people who are childless at fifty or five years after marriage would begin to have doubts in their mind whether God was not punishing them for what they did not know about Yet. Abram did not take it out on God. He did not allow that to hinder him from obeying God.
There are so many ways God calls us like Abram. He does not need to tell us to move from our country like He said to Abram. Many times, He calls us to turn away from our evil ways but because of earthly things, we persist in them. We count the cost of what we are likely to lose if we obey God. Some even ask why they must obey or answer that call. Some move, and look back like Lot’s wife (Gen.19:1-29), unlike Abram who kept moving from Haran to Shechem through to the hills east of Bethel, and to Negev. He even got as far as Egypt (Gen. 12:4-10).
I am sure there are times you feel like helping someone but restrained by what your spouse will say or how he or she would feel. May be, you are on such occasions slowed down by the consideration of how many mouths in your immediate (nuclear) family, you will have to care for or feed, or the number of such persons you have to clothe! When such things happen to you, you must watch it because God might just be calling you to do something.
It is not all the time that you will hear Him speak to you to do something for Him as He did to Abram. But whenever you hear that still small voice inside of you saying, “You can do something to help or that you can share what you have with someone”, do not close your heart because it may be God calling you as He called Abram.
Abram was one man God tested with what I think is the hardest thing a man can be called upon to do. He called him to sacrifice unto Him his only son whom he loved. I said the “hardest thing” because I know that for those under the control of Satan, it is possible to sacrifice one’s child in exchange for a gift from Satan. But for a man with clear eyes, it is impossible.
Firstly, Abram obeyed God. He set out to sacrifice the child, without a word to any person, including his wife and child (Isaac). Many people would have consulted their “best friends” on the matter and probably would have been discouraged from obeying God.
Today, many people would have first asked God why as if He owes anyone any explanation for the things He does.
Some would have told God to His face to look elsewhere if He needed human sacrifice so desperately.
Yet, some others would have tried to hide their child where they think in their mistaken belief that God’s hands would not reach.
Moreover, some would have accused God and cursed Him for giving them an only child and turning around to cause them unhappiness by taking the child away.
Questions and questions would have been asked. Why me? Am I the only one who must suffer always? What of those who have upto ten children? Did they not say you are a God of justice? Where is your justice?
Abram never did any of the above. He proceeded to obey, not minding the pain and scandal his conduct was likely to generate. He had to do it because he had to do it for God. Can you do it?
For you to appreciate the magnitude of what Abram did, you need to keep at the back of your mind the fact that he was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety years old at the time they begot Isaac. Yet, in this circumstance, Abram did not hold back his only son, whom he loved, from God.
It was because of the above facts that God declared, “I swear by myself that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the sea shore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your off-spring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Gen.22:15-18).
The above was the second of God’s declarations of His blessings upon Abraham. The first was like it. When God called Abram to move out of his country to the land He would show him, He said to him, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen.12:2-3).
The declarations made by God constitute some of the blessings of Abraham which we all claim to be ours. But the question still remains, “Can we do what Abraham did to deserve these blessings?”
Actually, we ought to know that Abraham did not so obey God and remain faithful to Him so that his blessings may automatically become our inheritance. We need to establish the same kind of relationship he had with God by total obedience to Him, to be able to claim his blessings.
Many people are today troubled by a lot of problems. But the truth from what we learn from God’s relationship with Abraham is that when you obey God and remain faithful to Him, God can change your lot. Literally speaking, God can give you a new befitting name which will match His blessings upon you. He changed the name of Abram to Abraham because He had made him fruitful and he was going to be the father of nations (Gen. 17:5-7). He also changed the name of Sarai (Abram’s wife) to Sarah because she was going to be the mother of nations and kings of people would come from her. (Gen.17:15-16). This should speak hope and comfort to all those who are looking for the fruits of the womb. This blessing of Abraham shall surely be yours if only you can obey God and remain faithful to Him.
Like I said earlier, Abraham was a good man who was not only accommodating but also peaceful. He received angels of God and showed them care even though they were total strangers to him. For this, God blessed him. (Gen.18). Can you do this? Or are you one of those who treat strangers as if they dropped from the sky and have no home?
Again what happened between him and Lot (his nephew) on their way out with their livestock and herdsmen brings out the fact that Abram was a good man. Because their herdsmen had started quarreling, Abram considered that the best way to avoid quarreling was to separate and go different ways. He allowed his nephew to choose one of the two available places to go (Gen.13:1-9). Can you do this?
Today, most uncles would not allow or give their nephews a chance to survive, not to talk of having a say or share in family property. Even the so called first sons in many families would never allow their blood brothers breathe clean air in their families. Many of them are in court today to get court orders to eject their brothers from houses built by their late fathers. This is sheer greed and can sometimes translate to wickedness.
It is for all the above facts that God blessed Abraham. If you must claim his blessings, then do what he did. Be what he was and God’s promises and blessings on him will be real for you. The Bible says, Abraham lived for a hundred and seventy five years before he died. It means that in addition to the blessings of fruitfulness, defence or protection, God also blessed him with good old age. What else does a man want from God?
We all, no doubts, need the blessings of Abraham as our inheritance. It is true that God promised him that He would establish His covenant as an everlasting covenant between them and his descendants after him for his generations to come (Gen.16:6-7), but we should not just go into sleep snoring and hoping that when we wake up, it would be honey everywhere.