25th October, 2020
A SOUL IN TRAVAIL.
TEXT: Gen. 35:16-21
I give God the glory for this privilege to pray with you all today for our dear country. The recent happenings in our Nation necessitated the need to travail for our Nation. Without any doubt, our dear country is in travail/birth pains. Among several pains humans could go through, no one could be compared to birth pains/travail. I have no doubt there is a travail for the soul of Nigeria and this is happening in the month of October, when Nigeria just celebrated her 60th Independence.
Unfortunately our political independence has not translated into genuine independence for we are still in bondage among ourselves. Without much argument, we are still in social, economic, spiritual, academic, cultural etc bondages today. May God deliver us. While ruminating over the recent happenings in our country, the passage God led me to is one of such I don’t enjoy reading in the Bible. It speaks of how Jacob, his wives and children journeyed from Bethel- “house of God” and while they were a little to Ephrath, meaning fruitfulness, (another name for Bethlehem-the house of bread) Rachel travailed-“yalad” and had hard labour.
This is similar to what Nigeria is going through now. In hard labour, the midwives encouraged her to fear not, but in travail, her soul departed. May that not be the portion of Nigeria. Though she died, a son was born which she named Ben Oni meaning “son of my sorrow/pains. But Jacob named him ‘Benjamen’ meaning- “son of my right hand.” May the children of sorrow become the children of right hand in Jesus name.
FOUR THINGS TO NOTE: In our passage, there are four things to note about the death of Rachel. It was,
1. Death upon a Journey. “And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath.” (Gen 35:16.) In such cases, death is generally an event unlooked for. This sad circumstance deeply impressed Jacob, and many years afterwards he looked back to it with sorrowful remembrance. (Gen 48:7) Some events linger for a while, some others linger for a long time. Last week events will remain in our memory for a long time.
2. Death in the Time of Travail. This is always a melancholy circumstance when the mother sacrifices her own life in giving life to her child. Life is full of many challenges and some of them result into painful losses including death.
3. Death just at the Edge of Accomplishment of an Age long Desire. In Genesis 30:1, Rachel in a desperate search for a child said, “give me children or else I die.” When Joseph was born, she believed that God would add to her another son. (Gen. 30:24) When the long expected gift was granted, she expired in the very moment of victory. That will not be my portion nor your portion in Jesus’ name.
4. Death that brought Life and Growth. Therefore, we must still be hopeful in spite of our pain. There is triumph after travail, childbirth after labour pains. The Hebrew word “yalad” actually means “to bring forth.” The travail was a process to bring forth a new life. The dying mother gave to the boy the name Ben-oni, “son of my pain.” Yes, through pain and sorrow, new life and victory were gained. This was not an utterance of despair, but a conviction that life had come out of death; victory out of pain, sorrow and apparent failure. This is indeed true even in the sense of the usually received antithesis of life. Every newborn child is a Ben-oni and also has the possibility of a Benjamin. We are Ben-oni in Adam and a Benjamin in Christ Jesus. We must therefore make our burdens as light as we can and not increase our worldly sorrow by sight of sad objects. Difficult times will come just as the foul weather but very soon the rain of progress and blessings will fall. Amen.
My believe, prayer and prophecy is that the current travail of the country will result into the birth of a new Nigeria. (John 16:21) Providence sometimes brings living children out of dying mothers. Rachel may die when Leah lives, the beloved before the despised but Benjamin shall be born and he shall live. After the pandemic and protest, may your portion be peace, prosperity and progress. May the current movement and its resolves result into a better and greater Nigeria for us all.AMen.(Micah 4:10) Amen. Shalom.
1. My Father, my Father, we give you praise for who you are in our lives, in our nation and in our world.
2. O God of mercy, forgive us in all ways we have failed you in the past and present as a nation.
3. My Father, my Father, the devil shall not have the soul of Nigeria.
4. Lord, have mercy concerning every rash word we have spoken in the past that is affecting the present and future of Nigeria.
5. Heavenly Father, silence every blood sucking demon in our land in Jesus name.
6. Father, give our leaders the needed wisdom and direction at such a time. Give them the courage to do what is right in Jesus name.
7. O God of righteousness, let righteousness, peace and joy return to our land in Jesus name.
8. O Lord, heal the wounds on the hearts of our youths and help them to see positive results out of their struggle. Make our youths builders and not destroyers of nations.
9. In the name of Jesus, my blood, that of my family and relatives shall not be shed on the account of any struggle in this nation.
10. O Lord, whatever I have lost during these challenges shall be restored to me in several folds. Amen.
11. O Lord our Redeemer, redeem Nigeria from them that are stronger than her.
12. O God of power, replace the losses of pandemic and protests with peace, prosperity and progress for Nigeria and for me in Jesus name.