Hagar ran away from the house of Abraham, and God went all the way to send an angel to ask her to return. The casual observer may think: how can God be that wicked. This was a place where life was made a living hell for her.
However, there was a time she left the house, this time around it was now organised, this time around, she did not initiate the move. But now God sent a message again to her that it was okay, giving her precious promises.
How come God did not want her to leave the first time but the second time, God wanted her to leave? She wanted to leave when God did not want her to leave, and when God wanted her to leave, she seemed not to want to.
It brings us face to face with the “times and seasons” character of God, where different things happens in different seasons because they are different seasons, based on the superior wisdom of God.
What happened to Hagar, is similar to what happened to Moses. He made a move to start to deliver Israel but it led to his running away from them, the second time when he does not want to go, God pushed him to go, showing that the time is in God’s hands, not ours.
Jesus was told by his brothers to go and show himself to the people in jerusalem, when a feast was going on there, so that he came become popular and more acceptable. But he said his time has not come.
A life of spiritual significance is focused on divine timing more than others. Others can follow humanistic reasoning, follow the way things are normally done, the way of human approval, humanistic rubbish, thinking carnally, judging after the flesh.
Man, Jesus said, does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. What proceeded yesterday, is not what will proceed today, so I need to follow the shepherd so that I do not lean on my own understanding, so that I will find sustenance today.
To get water from the rock for the Israelites, at different times, God told Moses to do two different things. When, the second time, he became moved by what the people are saying more than what God said, God felt slighted, and punished him from it. He hit the rock the first time, and did the same the second time, turning a walk with God to a formula, ritual, routine, though it is a relationship.
God asked Elijah to show himself to Ahab, and he will bring rain on the earth. That was the timing. Elijah could not afford to move by human feeling in that regard. He cannot follow wishful thinking. It was not self-initiated.
To the people, it may seem that Elijah acted on a whim, to seize rain and to bring rain again. He was authorized by God to make those proclamations. God decided to trust Elijah with such power. When rain fell, ti was also based on God’s instruction. And in the time of the water coming down, it was based on God’s instruction.
While the prophets of Baal were hoping that Baal was going to answer them by fire, Elijah had no such uncertainty, he acted on express instruction from God, the God of times and seasons. God determines the place of our abode and times of our habitation.
You may be asking: what should I do now, how do I move, where should I go, knowing that the best thing is to know what God is saying.
Isaiah said: my ears he has opened. So my hearing God is not my responsibility, but God’s responsibility. It is written, He makes hearing ears.
So the challenge is not the challenge of hearing, it is the challenge of obedience. God speaks, we read in the book of Job, but we refuse to listen, to pay attention, to yield.
Eve did not have the problem of hearing from God, but she choose differently from what God wanted. She embraced error. What about Saul? He had a clear instruction, but chose not to obey.
But apostle Paul, after he had a revelation of Christ and his purpose in him, said: I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
If obedience to God is important and it is, and since God has to be justified when he speaks, he needs to clear his own side of the arrangement, which is make his will known. He puts conscience in us for that reason, the indicator of right or wrong.
He made it so that if you want to know his will, you will know it. He said: ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find. You can find out the times and seasons he has for you, the people he wants you to be with, the places he wants you to go, if you want to know, if you will follow his logic and not humanistic rubbish, which is about conforming to the world.
We should stand in his presence like Elijah and declare the will of God, because we know it, because we love it. If our minds are clouded with humanistic rubbish, in which naturalistic thinking which the bible calls carnal mindedness is king, we will not be able to see beyond our noses, to see the path that God has set before us.
So it’s not about what others say, what seems convenient, what is acceptable, but the will of God.
Abraham is a case in point. He was told that he should sacrifice his son, that was what to do, he made preparation for it, organise a party, started out early in the morning, but at the end of it, he did not carry it out. Why? Because the first instruction was about testing Abraham obedience, not really about anything else. Eventually, Abraham sacrificed a ram. It would have been disastrous if Abraham refuses to hear the second instruction, but God did it so much that he did have a choice but to hear.
Moses saw the burning bush, through which God caught his attention. God knows how to get your attention, but we see Moses afterwards struggling to obey God, even suggesting that God send somebody else. That actually happens partially when it was Joshua who eventually led the Israelites to the promised land.
The attitudes differ between the two: to do or not to do, to hide or show yourself, to move or to stay.
Moses was so used to the “not going” attitude for forty years that when the time came to go, he found it hard to move.