MAKE HOLY HASTE
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I have read the story of the Patriarch and father of Faith, Abraham, many times but it was only recently when I read it again in Genesis chapter 18 that I noticed the urgency that characterized his reception of the three men that came to him in the plains of Mamre. Abraham was taking fresh air on a sunny day as he sat by the door of his tent when the LORD appeared to him by the teberinth tree of Mamre. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground and said, "My Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant" (Genesis 18: 1-5). The men said to him, "Do as you have said". Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, "Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; tread it and make cakes". Then Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. When all was finished, he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
Friends I believe as you read this story you could develop a mental picture of the event here. Here was Abraham welcoming men he never knew, strangers, because he saw they were travellers who may have appeared quite exhausted as they journeyed on this sunny and hot day. He showed great hospitality to these strangers by refreshing them. Few people may act like Abraham acted today. Only few people today would take notice of a stranger who may be stranded or in need, and certainly far fewer people would offer to help or give so much of their possessions to refresh or meet the needs of a stranger as we see in this story. Perhaps today our excuse for not acting like Abraham is security concerns. We know of and have heard stories of those who tried to assist strangers but became victims of robbery and other violent attacks in the hands of those strangers. However, let us remember that Abraham also lived in a fallen and sinful society as we have today and despite such fears as we may have today, he reached out to show hospitality to strangers. The word of God admonishes us to live a life given to hospitality (Romans 12:13). God says to us today, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels" (Hebrews 13:2). Little did Abraham know these were angels of God on assignment to the city of Sodom and Gomorrah to bring divine judgment on those wicked cities. He entertained angels unknowingly. I pray that as we begin from today to do good and be kind to people around us, even those we do not know, we will do good to those who will bless us as Abraham was blessed by these messengers of God.
Furthermore, we see the nature of Abraham's reception of these three men. He ran to meet them and beckoned on them to turn in to his dwelling for a while and be refreshed before continuing on their journey. Immediately they assented to his request, he hurried and gave them water to wash their feet. He hastened to his wife's kitchen and told her to quickly prepare cakes for these visitors. He ran to his herd of cattle, probably in custody of his herdsmen a distance away from his house and chose a good calf to prepare for these strangers. He was too glad that these men would oblige his request to be his guest and he never wanted to delay their journey and so he made haste to ensure they were served promptly. I can imagine this ninety nine years old man running around to ensure his guests were entertained and refreshed. In no time all was set, the meal was set before the guests and they ate. I do not know if Abraham had considered that these men were more than ordinary. I want to believe he perceived they were servants of God, and it did not take long before they manifested who they were to him.
After the men had their meal, they asked for his wife, and they prophesied that his wife will give birth to a son the following year and it happened as they foretold. It came to pass that these 100 years old man with his 90 years old wife who never had a child of their own could hold their baby with great laughter and name him Isaac, the following year as the strangers had prophesied. This was made possible by their hospitality, and also by their promptness in receiving the servants of God, a response I like to term "holy haste". Had Abraham not run out to meet these men, they would have passed him by. Had he not hurried to set a meal before them, they may have continued on their journey for they had an urgent mission to execute. If Abraham had missed this opportunity, perhaps he would have had to wait longer for a son God had promised him. Maybe we would be reading a different story today. Thank God, he took his opportunity and made holy haste. Dear friends, we must also take our opportunities this year. We must make holy haste to do all the good we can for God and for our fellow men. Procrastination, sluggishness, laziness and dullness are habits or attitudes we must put off because they are a disservice to us and would only limit or delay the fulfillment of our destiny.
We have seen the attitude of Abraham, now let us also examine the attitude of his nephew, Lot, who was also visited by these three strangers on the same day. He welcomed them to spend the night in his house as we are told in Genesis chapter 19. That same night, the wicked men of Sodom sought to have sex with these strangers despite the pleas of Lot. The angels had then confirmed the wickedness of the city of Sodom and were ready to destroy it and only Lot was considered to escape destruction, and so they instructed him to hurry and pack his possessions and family members out of the city. Unfortunately, Lot could not hurry, he could not make haste. He continued to linger despite being hastened by the angels, until they laid hold on him, his wife and daughters and virtually forced them out of the city before its destruction. This was God's last act of mercy on Lot, that He had to hurry him out of destruction. Lot came out with nothing, though he had the time to have taken some belongings at the instant the angels instructed him. It may have been thoughts of their loss and having to start afresh that made his wife to look back against the angels warning and turn into a pillar of salt. Had Lot made haste when he was instructed to leave the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, we would have been reading a different story about his family today. Friends, it is a dreadful thing to linger and delay instead of flee to safety in the face of danger and destruction. If God has so graciously warned you of the dangers that may overtake you and your family this year, why would you not make holy haste to avoid it? I am not out to discredit Lot as acting too worse than we would do today. Remember he too was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7). I believe that God has set the examples of these two men before our eyes so that we may learn from their strengths and weaknesses. I pray we will not linger like Lot but God will grant us the grace to make holy haste like Abraham.
It is important to learn from these stories that we must make haste to do good. Whatever good projects or vision God has put in your heart this year, do not procrastinate or be lazy about engaging in it to bring it to pass. The days will slowly turn to months and another year would have passed, why not work for God while you can, using whatever time you have every day? Remember there is a time for everything under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Do not postpone to tomorrow what you can do today (Proverbs 3:27-28).
Whatever good thing your hand finds to do, do it promptly, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going (Ecclesiastes 9:10). There are many men and women with noble ideas who never used them to the glory of God and to the benefit of man. They kept fixing a future date to embark on the project, and never implemented it till they died. What is that good plan God has put in your mind to execute this year? Do not wait till you get to July or August before you start working on it. If God has called you to work for Him to save souls, to preach to someone, to evangelize your neighborhood, do not wait for a convenient time because it may be late and the souls would have perished by that time. Make holy haste my brothers and sisters. Our Lord Jesus Christ left for us an example to follow; all we read about his public ministry was achieved only in the short time of three and a half years. He said to His disciples while meeting with a Samaritan woman whom He preached to at the well, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do not say there are still four months and then comes the harvest. Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:34-35). Whatever you have to do for God, do it now. Dear Children of God, my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us follow our Lord's example, who never let any opportunities to do good pass him by even if it was at the cost of His time, food, money and rest. Make holy haste to do what you must do for God. Remember we are charged not to be lagging in diligence, but to be fervent in Spirit in our service to the Lord (Romans 12:11). Let us make holy haste to pray when we should (Luke 22:40), to fast when we must (Matthew 17:21), to study and meditate on God's word promptly this year(Joshua 1:8). Let us call upon God while He may be found and while He is near (Isaiah 55:6).
You who are in the face of danger, do not delay, make haste to escape from Sodom today. Do not postpone your repentance from sin and your salvation till tomorrow for tomorrow may never come for you. Why would you smoke any more stick of cigarette or drink any more glass of alcohol, when your lungs are in danger of bronchitis, and your liver will soon be plagued with carcinoma? Why continue again in fornication and adultery when you are in danger of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancy? Why would you let your opportunity of having a new life which God offers you through Jesus Christ pass you by again this year? Do not linger anymore in that sinful habit or relationship; come to God today and He shall save you. You will discover that the ways of God are ways of pleasantness (Proverbs 3:17), His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), and His gifts are bounteous and eternal (Romans 6:23).Sin can only pay you wages of destruction and death. Make holy haste today and come to the Lord Jesus Christ who beckons on you today (Matthew 11:28). Do not hasten anymore to commit sin. Pray to God and confess your sins today. Invite Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life today.
Let us understand that Satan and his host of demonic spirits are also in a haste to destroy mankind, but theirs is an unholy haste. Evil men and women run to evil and they make haste to shed blood (Proverbs 1:16). Theirs is no holy haste, but we must make holy haste to do righteousness. Our holy haste is not the same as impatience, for we must still wait on the Lord to know what He wants us to do and to have the fulfillment of His promises. Our holy haste is in no way like the kind the wise King Solomon describes of men who hasten to be rich (Proverbs 28:20-22), those who steal, cheat, embezzle public funds and involve in all kinds of fraud to make money and be rich; such will not go unpunished, but poverty will come upon them. We must not also be those who hasten in their spirit to be angry, because anger rests in the bossom of fools (Ecclesiastes 1:5). Our haste must be only in being obedient to the will and commandment of God; in obeying God promptly and doing what pleases Him. This is holy haste.
May God bless this word to your heart today and may we make holy haste this year, this month, this week and this day. God bless you as you do this.
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