On the eve of my eighty-sixth birthday, I could not sleep. I was troubled and after rolling on the bed for hours, I stood up and decided to take a walk.
I remembered the first night that I arrived in Canaan, how I had been so excited and could not sleep. I finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning and had a dream.
In the dream, Yahweh appeared to me and led me by the hand towards the north side of Canaan from where I could see the whole land of Canaan stretch before me up to the Euphrates on the North and the Red sea on the south border.
“All this land”, He had said to me “as far as your eyes can see, belongs to you and your descendants after you”
Also, that night, He had instructed me to build an altar of worship to offer sacrifices to Him. He had instructed me on how to build the altar; twelve stones, that had not been worked on by any tool.
The next day after, under the oak at Mamre, I set up my first altar to Yahweh. Walking with Yahweh has been an interesting and life changing experience. I knew the true meaning of fatherly love and affection and forgiveness. Most days I am left in awe and humbled. I keep wondering why God chose me for such blessing and honour out of all the persons in Ur. Now I know it’s Grace. Unmerited Favour. Favour which still manifests in my descendants till date even though they are constantly at war, most of which is due to their stubbornness. Stiff necked people
I remember my second year in Canaan. No sooner had I begun to settle down than a terrible famine plagued the land. It was a severe drought with no drop of rainfall throughout the rainy season. No crop survived, not even those in the plains close to the rivers. When my cattle and sheep began to grow lean, I decided to travel down south to Egypt, where the effect of the famine was not felt because of their advanced irrigation system gotten directly from the Red Sea.
On my first night in Egypt, I was summoned by the king. I noticed while we were on our way that Sarah was the centre of attention of the men who were staring lecherously at her and some even dared to pass lewd remarks at her.
That was when I began to fear for my life. Up until that day, I had never thought of Sarah’s beauty as a threat and I may have taken it for granted. The truth is, Sarah was an extremely beautiful woman. She was my half-sister but that didn’t deter me from marrying her. Judging by the looks on all the men in the tavern and on the way to the palace, they all wanted her and I knew they would not hesitate to kill me if I constituted an obstacle. The Egyptians were reputable for their brutality.
I panicked. Looking back now, I realize that I didn’t have to do what I did. Yahweh had promised me that I would have a son with Sarah, and nothing could have stopped the promise from being fulfilled. At that moment though, I was paralyzed by fear and had just one thought going on in my head- saving my hide.
I called Sarah aside and told her that should pharaoh ask what our relationship was, she should answer that I was her half-brother. Likewise, she, my half-sister. Oh, it took a lot of convincing to get Sarah to agree and that was reluctantly. My Sarah was a very strong woman.
Just like I had feared, pharaoh too had been smitten by my Sarah’s beauty, and hearing that she was my half-sister, didn’t waste time in declaring his intention to marry her. My heart sunk but there was no going
back. Through Sarah, my place in Egypt was secured and I was treated like royalty and was given express access to the palace.
I would not forget the look on Sarah’s face on the night that she was being led to pharaoh’s chambers after the wedding rite has been performed. I had been drinking from a goblet of wine and laughing at pharaoh’s jokes when our eyes met. Oh, the depth of emotion in those eyes. My heart stopped beating and the drink stuck in my throat. I suddenly realized the full weight of my actions. I had betrayed Sarah, and sold her for comfort in Egypt. My eyes misted and I was getting short of breath. I rushed to the gardens outside and heaved into the flowers. I wept bitterly. I wept for my foolishness, greed and selfishness and cried to Yahweh to help me get my Sarah back. And he did.
Even as I walked the field on the eve of my eighty-sixth birthday, and remembered that night, a wave of shame washed over me. I owed Sarah a big debt. And that was when I resolved to give in to her request.
For about a month before then, she had been pestering me to have a child by her handmaid, Hagar. The idea repulsed me. Not that Hagar was unattractive, far from it, but the thought of being with another woman other than Sarah did not sit down well with me.
Moreover, Yahweh had promised to give me an heir through Sarah. But Sarah would not hear of it, she was losing faith.
‘’it’s been nine years Abram” she had exclaimed “nine years! When will the child come? If you have a child by Hagar, it will still be my child’’ she reasoned “the child will be still be my son- your heir, and God’s promise will still come to pass”
I was not convinced. Her logic was faulty on so many levels and she was talking out of desperation. ‘’What if I go in unto her and the child is a girl” I asked “will I go in unto her again?’’
Her lips had been set in a determined line, like it always was when she was adamant about something. “It will be a boy”
“How do you know that?’’
“I just know” with that she had stomped out of the room.
I sighed as I walked back towards the tent, my decision made. Deep down however, I was filled with trepidation and unease, but I shook it off.
If you ask me, that was the greatest mistake of my life. I should have listened to my heart and held on to the promise. I should not have allowed guilt to motivate my decision and bend to Sarah’s request.
Now, it breaks my heart to see the descendants of my two children at each other’s throat. Both of them inherited their mother’s stubbornness. Yes, I still consider Ishmael to be Sarah’s child. Their conflict is born out of deep hatred and jealousy, hurt and a sense of betrayal on the part of the elder, and from pride and arrogance on the part of the younger. My heart weeps for my son Ishmael…
I digress again.
I hope you learn a lesson from me. Do not give up on God. Do not try to help God to fulfill His promises to you. My son, David said it in one of those his psalms that I love to listen to (now that boy is really talented and anointed and I am always proud of him). He said “wait on the Lord, wait, I say on the Lord”
Till next time when I continue my story
Wait on the Lord.
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