THE CHURCH OF ISHMAEL

Genesis 16-18        

One beautiful thing about God is that He will never leave his own in a situation of confusion. Discouragement is a horrible thing. It wearies the soul. But God is always there for the righteous in the darkest night.

Proverbs 10:3 “The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

Abram got to a point in life that he got so wearied of God’s promises. Another promise at this point was that God said He was Abram’s shield and exceeding great reward. If God was going to be his reward, whom would he leave his gain with? All born in his house were his servants. He became so fearful that he thought his end might be messed up and he would lose all he had to the servant. It had been promises upon promises. He did see the Lord’s goodness in his life going by his possessions but no one of his seed that would inherit them. This led him into asking God for a token that His promise is was coming to pass considering his old age. Though he believed God, which was counted to him as righteousness, yet he wanted some thing to hold on to. The reason being that, the land he was standing seemed unconquerable and for his old age, seemed unrealistic in his time.

Genesis 15:8And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?”

This question led into God entering a covenant with Abram. Covenant is an upgrade of promise. For God, both His promise and covenant are just the same for as long as one remains in the condition binding it.

2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, ­to the glory of God by us.”

the manner of asking the question from God was a polite one; it (i.e. the question) was not doubting, but out of curiosity. The process of entering the covenant in response was strenuous. Blood was involved. This makes the difference between a promise and a covenant. Know one thing when it comes to covenant; the status before striking the deal is not the same as that after. The terms of the greater power overwhelm the agreement. This is always the case when submission is required. In Abram’s case, Abram’s submission was needed, and he had to be taken through a dreadful situation; an unnatural encounter.

Genesis 15:12And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.”

Genesis 15:17And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.”

These two verses look same but not. The first has to do with Abram, while the second has to do with God; with God in all. The first was Abram’s experience to humble him. His flesh trembled. The darkness was an unnatural one because the sun was still visible; a land beyond the dreams. An unexplainable location. His attention was arrested, and God spoke with him that the promise was not for that moment as the occupants of the land would have to be evicted because of their iniquities. Meanwhile, Abram’s descendants would be preserved as strangers in a foreign land under affliction.

The real covenant is in the second verse, Genesis 15:17. This took place when it was night. Two symbols were used, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp.

The smoking furnace is a symbol of refining. And the burning lamp is to lighten his understanding

Psalms 18:28 “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”

Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”

A genuine call goes through this dreadful experience; an indelible experience. To be boastful or confident of what you could do for God is an expression of lack of understanding of what a calling is. To have a gift is not the same as having a vision.

You may start a church with a gift. It is not the same with starting a church with a vision. One is for a while and the other endures. One is materialistic, while the other is absolutely spiritual. One seeks for affiliation, while the other is a movement, not comparable and not competitive, but according to the revealed pattern. A church of vision is unique, not after the pattern of others. It does not imitate and never bordered about criticism. Such has no time for condemning others. Its pattern will always be different and could be regarded as strange. Apostolic signs follow a church of vision. Such church does not hustle for membership, it is always gathered divinely for them to maintain. Such church does not run after Christians to be members but win souls for Christ and train them as armies in the kingdom. Many churches are winning membership from other churches and think they are winning Satan. Hear what Paul says.

Romans 15:20 “Yes, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:”

The life of Abram was not the same after the covenant. His body was renewed to prepare him for the plan. At his age, he became sexually active because he had been refined in the vision. He started with Hagar in chapter 16 of which Ishmael was born. Sarai’s body was out of date. She needed to be updated and refined also.

The relationship between Abram and Hagar was without any token from Abram’s side. Ishmael was born without Abram giving his token of the covenant to God. The covenant was only completed and sealed with the circumcision of the foreskin and his name and that of his wife were changed to reflect the promise.

Genesis 17:10-11 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.”

The circumcision also extended the covenant to the generations unborn.

Hagar was still having her menstrual period and, therefore, could make babies. Unlike Sarah whose body had cease to be after the manner of women.

A church without this visional experience is Ishmael’s church. Though propagate the gospel, mostly perversely. But not covenanted to endure until Christ’s second coming. Just as Ishmael is predicted to be wild, so such churches are wild. They accept any manner of wildness just to maintain the congregation; dressing, conducts, messages, flamboyance, etc. No pattern. Very materialistic. Pretend to be soul winning conscious, but more of what to accumulate.

For the body of Sarah, the visitation of the three men in chapter 18 quickened her body. When she heard of what God wanted to do, she laughed. The virtue of the spoken word quickened her and made her to laugh.

Genesis 18:12-14 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

For every vision, God prepares the vision carrier, body, soul and spirit. Unusual grace entered both of them and the body that was termed dead came alive. Isaac was a product of completed covenant. Natural rules for conception were violated. Therefore, he was a covenant child.

Jesus’ birth never followed natural rules of conception also. His blood became the new covenant for us.

The God who worked in Abraham and Sarah for His name to be glorified shall touch your need in Jesus name.

Keep the fire burning

Supo Abayode

MFM, Delaware, USA.

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