SPEAKER: PASTOR IFEANYI ANAGO
TOPIC: GOD IS ALMIGHTY (He has Absolute Power)
TEXT: Gen.17:1-9; Ps.62:10-11.
We had before now discussed about God as; "Omnipotent "(All powerful). But this appears too theological and quite abstract. Today in this topic, we are attempting to bring that concept down to the practical level of God's dealings in human interactions; God's dealings with a man named Abram and consequently, His dealings with each of us in our generation. For, He is God who admits of no “variableness or shadow of turning" (Jam.1:17). What He did for the "Ancients", He will do for the "Moderns", because with Him, there is no generational dissonance or the thought that His powers are limited by generational circumstances. Therefore, we intend to draw from the two passages outlined above, streams of refreshment for our travel-weary souls about the dealings of God.
2. TEXTUAL ANALYSIS (Gen.17:1-9)
2.1 Abram had just emerged from a misadventure in 'Self-Help' which we now know to be very disastrous (the conception and birth of Ishmael)-Gen.16:1-4. He had taken a detour in his walk with God and had listened to and followed the advice of his wife Sarai (another god), who had immediately begun to receive the recompense for her ill-advice (disrespect by Hagar). It does happen that sometimes when it appears that Almighty God is too late in fulfilling His promises, we search for other gods, who will act faster! We resort to self-help. Brethren, 'self-help' is actually another god in disguise. And all of us have been guilty of this one time or another. Abram was not alone in this kind of misadventure. He surely has some of us as good company.
2.1.2 I remember an encounter I had with a woman (on street evangelism) in Benin in 1980, who served and worshipped 'Olokun', an idol, but had a big picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on her wall. When I challenged her as to this dichotomy, hear her: "This God on the wall is so far away that he doesn't answer quickly. But this one in the corner (Olokun), answers quick quick ". And so are some of us who are looking for quick fixes to the challenging issues of life.
2.2 The Lord appeared again to Abram when he was already 99 years old (all hopes appeared lost) to re-introduce Himself, but this time as "Almighty God" (El Shaddai), whose import Abram had not fully appreciated. If he had understood that God was 'Almighty' and possesses absolute power to fulfil His promises at any time, he would not have obeyed the mis-advice of Sarai, his wife. In fact, he looked eager for this self-help as offered by his wife. There was no indication that he ever reminded her of God's ability to fulfil His promises and encouraged her to keep believing. And so are we! Abram had lost touch with that conviction and so the Lord had to re-introduce to him that aspect of His character. Excuse me, let me ask, does God not need to often remind us of His power to make good His Word? Are you right now in such a valley of unbelief that the Lord needs to remind you of this attribute of His? Does God gently require to remind you of your 'imperfect' walk with Him as He did Abram? Are we in the habit of listening to the advice of well-meaning friends and relatives, which are nevertheless contrary to God's purpose for us? These are questions we must ponder.
2.3 God never abandoned His promises because Abram failed this test of trust. He renewed His covenant with Abram and promised to multiply him "exceedingly" (despite his foolish misadventure). That is the God we are dealing with; who is able and sufficiently powerful to fulfil ALL His promises despite our shortcomings and failures (Eph.3:20-21). Abram at this time, fell down on his face in worship and repentance at this manifestation of boundless grace! The question that confronts me is: what is my response when confronted with such reaction from God in the face of moral failure? Do I try to rationalise my behaviour or fall down before Him in repentance and worship? As Abram fell down on his face in renewed surrender, God proceeded to say some 'strange' things to him: "As for me (as far as I'm concerned), behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee" (Gen.17:4-5).
2.3.1 Please take note that the change of name from ABRAM to ABRAHAM, came after Abram's great moral failure. Do you know that your past failures do not define you or determine your future, in God? Do you know that God has more for you after disastrous moral decisions than before? Do you know He has sufficient absolute power to elevate you from being a mere 'exalted father '(Abram; an empty title in the face of childlessness) to Abraham-father of many nations already made (v 5).Sarai (My Princess) also had her name changed to Sarah (Woman Minister)-Gen 17:15. Her mistake with Hagar and her apparent unbelief, never defined her future relationship with God. Unbelievably Sarah found herself named among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, despite her several incidents of unbelief.
2.4 All that God essentially did to reinforce Abram's confidence in His power to fulfil His promises was to introduce the letter 'h' into both Abram's and Sarai's names. The impact of such a change only becomes clear when we encounter Ex. 6:3, where the LORD revealed His most secret and personal Name to Moses. Hear God: "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my Name JEHOVAH (YHWH) was I not known to them". YHWH has been translated as: I AM WHO AM! The letter 'h' stands for AM, which represents the essential nature of God (power of an endless life) and sealed the demonstration of God's power and mercy towards a repentant Abram. May God introduce something in our lives that will seal our destiny in Him forever.
3. Psalm 62:11 reinforces this absoluteness of God's power. God spoke once (with one mouth) but David heard it twice (with two ears, indicating absolute attention and focus), that Power belongs to God. Brethren, how are we supposed to react to such absolute statements? What it should do is to provoke faith and reckless confidence in God who is merciful, compassionate, redeeming, forgiving and ever willing and ready to forgive all our failures once we truly repent and relearn to TRUST Him (Ps.37:7).
3.1 God began this awesome renewal of covenants and promises in Abraham's life when he was ninety nine (99) years old, a hopelessly unrealistic age to expect to father a child! So many of us may be in this helpless and hopeless stage in our lives and some have long given up hope. But you know what? Isaac was born when Abraham was one hundred (100) years old. This means that barely one (1) year after God's re-encounter with Abraham, Isaac (laughter) arrived. Often in God's dealings with us, the progressive gradation is hard, difficult, impossible, and then...DONE. Brethren, if Isaac (laughter) arrived in Abraham's life just about one year after God's gentle rebuke and his worshipful repentance, then take courage, your answer (laughter) is on the way. The only crucial question is: are you ready to repent as Papa Abraham did?
4. LET US PRAY.