Every time, I feel like talking about Abraham. There are so many reasons for that. You know, our people say, “Anyone whose name is mentioned all the time has something special which he or she does”. This is exactly the way it is for Abraham. When you are talking of faith, he is reputed to be the father of faith. When you are talking of obedience to God, one may not be found who is as obedient to God as he was. Is it blessing you want to talk about? Abraham comes to mind. He was so blessed that everyone now claims his blessing are theirs. They also claim to be his children, even when they are not ready to do those things that he did, which made him a man in a million.
There is, however, the other side of Abraham that is not given prominence and by omission, has been so seriously played down. This is the side of him that I want us to look at today. We are going to look at Abraham as a family man. I want us men to examine ourselves today and see how many of us who can properly be described as family men.
When the Lord appeared to Abraham at Mamre, Abraham received Him in such a way many of us today would not have done. I say this because our general attitude to strangers is nothing to write home about. Many of us think strangers should not eat from their pots. They, sometimes, antagonize strangers to the extent that they will not feel any thing telling them to their face that they should not have come. I am aware that times have changed, and some strangers can be harbingers of death. All the same, it is better to keep an open mind, lest you drive away an angel of the Lord from whose hands you can benefit.
My interest this morning is the question the Lord put to Abraham and the answer he gave. The Lord asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” and Abraham replied, “Here, in the tent.” I want you to notice the straight nature of the answer given by Abraham to that question. He did not prevaricate. He did not say, “Let me go and look for her” or start calling her to find out where she was. He knew the exact place his wife was at that particular point in time.
The question is, “How many men can, today, say where their wives are at every given time?” You see, when you cannot say where your wife is or where she is likely to be at every particular point in time, it is a sure sign that something is wrong with your marriage.
Unfortunately, today, we have more men who cannot say where their wives are if the Lord visits them and asks, “Where is your wife?”: Some will panic, call their children to ask them where their mother is. Some will even tell lies!
The truth is that many men spend more quality time with their concubines than they are prepared to spend with their wives. Some spend more time at business than they are prepared to spend with their families. How then can a man who is afraid of disclosing his own movement to his wife to avoid being caught, want to know where his wife would be, any way?
One danger is that when a man so lives his life that he cannot say where his wife is if asked, his wife in return may not bother knowing where he may be at any time. This is not healthy for any marriage and it is one reason for the high rate of divorce in our society today.
A man’s wife is said to be his other half, whether she is his better half or otherwise is another ball game. The remembrance of this fact should make a man want to know where his wife is at every point in time. It should make him feel abnormal when he is not able to answer the question, “Where is your wife?”
Certainly, whenever and wherever there is a breakdown in communication between a man and his wife, or where there is lack of trust, or where there is death of love in a marriage, the man would not be able to know where his wife is if asked.
Abraham answered the question as to the whereabout of his wife and the Lord delivered His message that by the same time the next year, his wife Sarah would have a son. Has it ever occurred to you to ask why the all-seeing and all-knowing God, who even saw and knew when Sarah secretly laughed, could ask Abraham the question, “Where is your wife?” I have been thinking about this and two answers keep coming to my mind.
Firstly, I think God might not have made that pronouncement if He was not sure that Abraham knew the whereabout of his wife.
Secondly, it seems to me to be a reminder to all men that one day God would demand the whereabout of our wives whom He put in care. Of course, we know the story of creation very well, particularly how after creation, God saw that all things He created were not suitable companion and proceeded to create a woman whom He gave to the man (Adam) we know how Adam heaved a sigh of relief and did not wait for the next minute before pronouncing her the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh. It is also said by the Bible that by that union, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen.2:28- 24). But what do we have today?
We have men who would leave their wives and cling to their concubines. We have men who by their general conducts, utterances and attitude towards their wives, have chased them thousands of miles away from themselves. When a man has chased his wife that far, how can he know where his wife is, if asked?
The question “Where is your wife?” is a call on us men to change our attitudes towards our wives in a positive sense. It is a fresh reminder to us to show more concern, care and love to our wives. It is a clarion call for us to give them peace of mind and return our eyes on them if our eyes have wandered away from them.
I want all men to ask themselves some questions. Everyone should ask themselves, “When did I see my wife last? When last did I care to know where she is? Do I ever sit down with my wife to discuss heart to heart over her affairs and the affairs of our family? What is wrong with me? Where and when did I veer off tangent?”
Honestly, I do not know how a man can go to bed and sleep, when his wife is out there in the sitting room crying, if something is not wrong with him. I do not know how a man can go out there eating and drinking in the arms of a woman of questionable identity when his wife and children are at home starving. These are all indices of a troubled home where the man has failed to rise up to his responsibilities and challenges as the head of the family.
Of course, I am not going to lose sight of the fact that there are men who cannot even say where they are, not to talk of where their wives are. Some of them would be so ashamed of where they are that they would not be able to open their mouths and answer that question. I mean, how can a man say he is where he is not supposed to be? Was it not why Adam answered off-point when God asked him where he was? How can “I was afraid because I was naked” from Adam ever be an answer to God’s simple question, “Where are you?”. In the same way, a man who is in a brothel will not like anyone to know where he is. A man who is in a meeting of wicked conspirators will not like anyone to know where he is. So will a man in the process of committing a crime not say where he is!
Like I said in the beginning, Abraham always gave good account of himself and never failed God. It was because God trusted that he was such a man who was capable of leading his entire household to know the righteous and just ways of the Lord that He revealed to him what He was going to do to Sodom (Gen. 18:17-19).
Again, Abraham proved himself worthy in relation to his nephew Lot. When God asked him to move from his father’s land to a land where He was going to show him, he took with him his wife and Lot his nephew. When his herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen were quareling, he sensed that such quarrel was not healthy for his relationship with Lot. He decided that the best way to avert such problem was for them to part ways, one to the right and the other to the left. Unbelievably, he conceded the right to his nephew, a much younger fellow, to make the first choice of where to go, something which I had said in the past that uncles of these days would never do. Yet when Lot was taken captive, he chased and fought back until he rescued him (Gen.14:14-16).
And now, Abraham has shown us a good example of what every husband must be. A husband must be in a position to give account of his wife whenever he is asked to do so. Moreover, he must know his wife’s whereabout or movement at every time. Are you such a husband?