What goes through your mind any time you experience that acute shortage?,some cry,borrow,get distressed or even give up,but still others pray and He hears and answers.When it was decided that Hagar and Ishmael were to leave Abraham’s home.Abraham being a loving father took some food and put some water in a bottle and give it to Hagar and sent them away, not knowing where to go with her son she wandered in the Desert of Beersheba,after a few days the water was finished and being in a desert you can be sure the kind of thirst they were feeling,the situation must have been very desperate because unwilling to see her son die ,she put him a distance away(an arrow’s shooting distance) and left him there to die out of her sight,Ishmael cried his lungs out,equally Hagar sobbed her heart out from the point where she sat,this is any parents’ worst fears having a problem facing your children and there is nothing you can do about it,imagine sitting there knowing any moment the want would snap the life out of your son.It must have been very hard for Hagar.But God who is the father of mercy,father of fathers,heard the cry of Ishmael(this informs us that God always hears our cries),and sent an angel to Hagar,the angel using very kind words asked Hagar not to be afraid any more because God had heard the cry of Ishmael (and of course we all know if He is for us who can be against us), she was asked to pick up Ishmael and assured God would make him a great nation(a blessing)(what a good turn of events for this distressed mummy,personally being a daddy in can identify with the relief,joy and gratitude of the moment).God opened her eyes and she saw a well,filled her bottle and gave her son that much needed drink.(Wow! Looking at this, it amazes me how God has a ready solution to the problem at hand,and the solution comes in plenty,instead of just refilling their bottle ,He gave them a whole well,from where they could drink as much as needed or even take a bath or any other possible/necessary use,truly God is an amazing Father). God ,true to His word was with the boy Ishmael as he grew up and eventually got married,signalling start of the nation already spoken about by God to Abraham earlier on.Dear reader, fathom this ,in the middle of your acutest shortage/want ,God in His great mercies ,hears your cry,consoles you,meets the want in His own majestic way and on top of it all,He adds a blessing.What a loving father indeed.Its a lesson and a challenge to always keep our eyes trained on Him and our faith steadfast in Him,and in His own ways and time He responds. (Genesis 21:8-21 )
When the Israelites were moving from Egypt to Canaan,on reaching Etham, God commanded Moses to
tell the people of Israel to turn back and camp across from Pi-Hahiroth near Baal-Zephon, between Migdol and the Red Sea ,this was to lure Pharaoh and his army into their destruction,for God’s great victory and glory. Just as divine providence had it when the king heard about their whereabout ,he decided to pursue them and retake back Israelites to continue being his slaves,not knowing this was the appointed day for his destruction alongside his army.The king got his war chariot and army ready. He commanded his officers in charge of his six hundred best chariots and all his other chariots to start after the Israelites. The Lord made the king so stubborn that he went after them, even though the Israelites proudly went on their way. But the king’s horses and chariots and soldiers caught up with them while they were camping by the Red Sea near Pi-Hahiroth and Baal-Zephon.When the Israelites saw the king coming with his army, they were frightened and begged the Lord for help. They also complained to Moses saying, “Wasn’t there enough room in Egypt to bury us? Is that why you brought us out here to die in the desert? Why did you bring us out of Egypt anyway? While we were there, didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? We had rather be slaves in Egypt than die in this desert!”. What an unfortunate barrage of words levelled against Moses? The Israelites never knew all what was happening had God’s hand in it,actually it was God’s plan of revenging against Pharaoh and his people.(Its a challenge and a lesson to us not to complain or murmur when faced with problems,it may be God’s doing,for our own good,don’t we remember how the Egyptians were very cruel to Israelites back in Egypt?) Moses to whom God had revealed His plan to,tried to encourage them,assuring them that all would be well.His words seem to be informing the ranting Israelites about the plan by saying
“Don’t be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.” Almighty God who was watching as events unfolded commanded Moses
to tell the Israelites to move forward.(He had already heard their cry for help despite their murmuring and grumbling) .Being a protecting father He also realigned the security to ensure not even a hair from their head would fall(Luke 21:18),He moved the leading angel from infront of the Israelites army to the rear,and also the large cloud which led them during the day also moved to the rear and settled in between the Israelites and the Egyptians,it provided light to the Israelites but darkness to the Egyptians such that no army could come near the other throughout the night,what an impregnable defence and an assurance to the scared Israelites,Surely to God there is no an unforeseen event,this should be a great lesson to us,the modern Israelites,no matters the odds against you,to God He has all the winning cards and their order. Then he was told to hold his walking stick over the sea. The water opened up and made a road ,after a night of strong east wind blowing over the sea,where they walked through on dry ground. with walls of water on both sides, Wow,what a miracle! In the hardness of their hearts the Egyptians followed the Israelites into the sea,occassioning the moment appointed by God for their judgement,God commanded Moses to stretch his arm toward the sea and waters rushed back together drowning all the Egyptians for their iniquities,but the Israelites proceeded on dry ground ,with walls on both side.Not a single Egyptian survived the blow of divine judgement and God allowed the Israelites to see the dead bodies of their enemies on the shores of the sea.This made the Israelites realise it is God who fought for them,snatched them from the jaws of their enemies,and drowned their chains of bondage and because of this they worshipped Him and had great trust in Him and His servant Moses.Dear reader fathom this ,Israelites had an acute shortage of hope and assurance when they looked back and saw the Egyptian chariots quickly catching up on them,this made them even utter some very unfortunate grumbles against Moses,in extension God Himself who had commissioned Moses,being a loving and understanding father it seems He didn’t hold it against them,He saw their anguish,heard their plea and instead of only providing a way across the sea,God beefed up their security,made sure not even a piece of cloth belonging to an Israelite would be touched by the Egyptian soldiers, in addition He allowed them to see their enemies in the subdued state,having received their justified judgement,
and on top of it all He increased their faith and trust in Him,what other addition would be greater than this,so even in our acutest shortage we should trust and wait for His moment.(Exodus 14)
As the Israelites proceeded on with the journey,they came to Rephidim,here they were faced with an acute shortage of water,in that bitting thirst they greatly complained against Moses,actually they even started to think that Moses had ill intentions, had brought them into the desert to kill them,can you imagine this ,just the other month these people were groaning under slavery in Egypt,but now faced with thirst they seem to forget the good gesture from God that He had heard their woes was with them,and would hold their hands all the way,but now they hurled bitter complains against the whole process of their redemption.What a challenge to us current Christians ,how many times have you bitterly complained against God despite all the good promises done to you? How many times have you become so impatient with God ,even to a point of trying other alternatives,some indulging in sorcery,alcoholism and et cetera,only to come back with tears in your eyes after realising that there could be no better remedy other than clinging on Christ,who was bestowed with authority of both heaven and earth.But Moses having steadfast faith in God,he prayed, no, he cried to God,and you can be sure God hears His faithfuls instantly even if He may send the response afterwards.To illustrate gravity of this situation look at what Moses says to God :
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” The very Moses they secretly revered in their hearts for having led them out of Egypt,now they were even contemplating of stoning him,not caring how they would move forward in this wilderness without the God’s messenger showing them the way,but of course from the complaints uttered by these people i think they were no longer very excited of moving forward but were slowly warming up to the idea of turning back and returning to Egypt.How many times have we also almost turned back and went to Egypt simply because we faced challenges and problems? Is it not a very gullible thing to do,owing to the fact that the Christ we follow is the truth,the way and life itself(John 14:6),Alpha and Omega(Revelation 22:13).i.e He is all in all. Where else can we get this much sought after good life? But God in His great mercy responded to ease out the Israelites from this acute thirst,He provided water in plenty.
The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on”
(Exodus 17) . Dear reader ,its worthy noting that in the middle of the woes of the Israelites ,God majestically responded,actually Moses was instructed to pull along some elders who would be witnesses to the Lord’s doing,from the least expected source(a rock) God provided water and it should be a lesson to us that even in you almost impossible miseries God has an answer even if from a least imagined of source,we only need to approach Him in truth and spirit and wait for His majestic moment.
Dear reader ,during the Israelites journey in the wilderness they grew impatient and spoke against Moses and God,God sent venomous snakes against them,they bit people and many perished.Furthermore if it was very difficult to get food and water,what about getting medication or a snake bite antidote for that matter.This must be almost impossible.In our current world whereby health has been prioritized as one of the key needs of life,we have seen emergence of many medical cover schemes,numerous well equipped hospitals,well trained doctors and research being done at very advanced levels all in pursuit of health,all this should make us comprehend the perilous situation Israelites were in the wilderness,on top of these circumstantial shortages we should not forget that the venomous snakes were unleashed on them by God Himself as a result of their sins;unending disgruntles against Moses and in extension against Lord God Himself.Looking at these odds we would be excused to think that the fate of the sinful Israelites was sealed ,but its not yet over until when He says its over.Many Israelites lost their lives from the snake bites,but clad in mercy God granted them a way to be saved when they confessed their sin to Moses and asked him to pray to God for them,so that He could stay the snakes,Moses prayed for them.The very same Moses Israelites were murmuring against is here now before the Lord ,interceeding for them,This should be an eye opener to us ,an intercessory prayer gets God’s attention quickly than even we expected it,simply because its a selfless prayer,so next time you feel the urge to pray for your persecutors don’t ask the Holy spirit,what’s in for me in that,or say its not my business,but please do the onus,for your uplifting and edification of your persecutors and ultimately glory to God.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:4-8). From the snake bites they died but now from the (God commissioned) raised bronze snake they lived.What a juxtaposition!.Surely to God nothing is impossible and His abundance may come from a source never dreamt of.
During the reign of King Joram,son of Ahab ,there was great famine in Samaria,this famine was occassioned by a siege laid by Ben-Hadad king of Aram . There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.Things got so thick that people started slaughtering their sons for meat.Even though using a wrong approach the King decided to go and seek counsel from Elisha,servant of God,despite King Joram’s murderous reign he was in straits such that secretly he wore a sackcloth under his kingly robes,which i perceive to be a sign of repentance and humility despite the fact that the old sinful nature was still within him.(We should learn that,if we desire to walk with the Lord,we should foresake our old habits and let Holy Spirit guide us) Actually he went to look for Elisha so that should Elisha fail to give him answers he would be executed,but God being very faithful had already informed Elisha and instituted a way of creating an unexpected abundance at his call. When the king arrived at Elisha’s house ,he said , “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” (Sometimes we erroneously blame God for our troubles, but living a carouse life is bound to attract a disaster) Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” Wow what an unlikely answer at this time of great hunger.But to God is there anything too difficult to do?,absolutely none.The officer on whose arm the king was leaning on said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” Elisha answered “You will see it with your own eyes but you will not eat any of it!” For sure the Lord did open the floodgates but not in the least expected ways.Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.” At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’” One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said. And for sure there was great abundance in Samaria (2 kings 6:24-33, 2 kings 7). From this passage we should learn that direness of a situation does not make our God run out of ideas, because unto Him is all authority in both heaven and earth and every creature in both, stands at His beck and call.Unlikeliness of a situation doesn’t mean God can not do it,we all need to cast all our burdens unto him and surely we shall rest.(Psalm 55:22)
During the times of prophet Elisha,one of the men in his company of the prophets died,He left a widow and two sons,He had so much debt that his creditor decided to pick the widow’s two sons and make them his slaves because they could not pay up the debt,forgetting that the Lord say’s that He is the protector of the widow’s(Psalms 68:5) and of course He fights their battles.Faced with this situation and knowing that her husband walked with Elisha,she came to ask Elisha for help ,Elisha asked her” “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” She replied“Your servant has nothing there at all except a small jar of olive oil.” From her response it is very clear that apart from the huge debt ,the widow and her son were almost starving. Elisha said to her, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She went and did exactly that,God miraculously multiplied the oil, there were so much oil such that all the jars were filled until no more jar was available.When she reported what had happened to Elisha, He simply said to her ” Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”(2 Kings 4:1-7).It’s worthy noting that despite the meagre amount of oil the widow had Elisha instructed her to go and ask all her neighbours for empty jars,clearly showing us that our shortages doesn’t hinder our Lord’s abundance,on top of that the oil kept on flowing until all the jars were filled,what a good indicator to us that our God’s fountains are limitless and He is ready to open them to us if we ask in truth and prayer.Finally she got all the money needed to pay up the entire debt and actually had surplus which the man of God instructs her to make a living for herself and her sons out of it,Wow! this must have been a very happy,relieving moment, almost unbelievable to the widow ,whom a few verses earlier was staring at a risk of losing her sons,not forgetting she had recently lost her husband.It should be a lesson to us,that even in our acutest shortages,God’s abundance and providence is still there,we only need to ask in truth and prayer and it shall be given to us(Matthew 7:7),also not forgetting that He thinks of us and has good plans for us(Jeremiah 29:11)
Similarly in the abundance of our sins, and shortage of our glory ,God sent His only son to be to us as the raised bronze snake ,to bring the abundance of our salvation and restoration as children of God and also to be our everlasting saviour so that whoever comes to him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:14-16)
PS:Inspiration to write this article came from a personal experience.All praise to God,who creates abundance in our shortages.