Text: “Can a woman forget her sucking child…? they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” – Isaiah 49:15
BANISHMENT is the process of sentencing a person from one place of usual resort against his/her will into another location. This experience could be a terrible new way of life, which is capable of drawing the sympathy and outcry of local and the international community, particularly when someone is banished from a place of influence to Awe, a relatively discomfiting town. In Oyo State, for instance, there is a beautiful town called Awe, a city of peace, which is blessed with a global tourist attraction, called Sogodi Lake. There is another serene, peaceful and beautiful town called Awe in Nasarawa State.
As good as those towns are, they are nothing comparable with the city of God called awe. God’s town of awe has a gateway of amazement, a pathway wonderment, buildings of astonishment and a location of admiration. When one is banished to awe, one is immediately catapulted from insignificance to a higher level of grace, one is moved from the pathway of insults to the highway of a salt of the earth, hitherto locked doors are opened of their own accord and one becomes an instant celebrity and a person of great influence.
From our text, God asked if it were possible for mothers to forget their suckling child. He averred that it is possible for your closest person, who is supposed to provide assistance, to turn a blind eye. It is not unusual for brothers to forget their siblings, it is not out of place for friends to ignore the telephone calls of their ‘buddies’, and it is common for privileged members of the society to ignore the pleasantries of friends that are less privileged, but He has promised never to forget you. He promised that He will surely remember you. The Psalmist said, “though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10) – Halleluyah!
Everything in the world was wrong with Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul. At age five, his father and grandfather died at the battle of Mount Gilboa. While he was being taken away by his nurse, he fell and became disabled immediately. He was therefore banished to Lodebar as a disabled person and placed under severe restriction. The world forgot him but one day the power of God stirred up King David who asked that “… is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? (2 Samuel 9:1). The lot fell on Mephibosheth. He and his son, Mika, woke up in a beggarly state and were sentenced to the palace of awe where they slept that night and lived there forever. (2 Samuel 9:13).
There was also a woman called Hannah, who was severely tortured emotionally and physically by Peninnah because she was not bodily fruitful and she constantly provoked her till she ‘wept and would not eat’ (1Samuel 1:7). In the course of time, however, God remembered ‘the forgotten suckling child’, she was banished to awe – she became pregnant and gave birth to a boy who grew to be a great prophet, seer, priest, judge and military leader in Israel. Not only that, and at the citadel of awe, she had six additional children while her persecutor pined away (1 Samuel 2:5).
Mordecai, a captive Jew, was a gatekeeper in the palace who saved King Xerxes from the treacherous scheme of Bignatha and Teresh, who had planned to assassinate him (Esther 2:21-22). Years later, the King’s Prime Minister schemed to eliminate all the Jews in Babylon, Mordecai inclusive (Esther 3:8-13). Everyone forgot the role that Mordecai had played but suddenly God stirred the king to remember what he had done which qualified him for honour and recognition (Esther 6:1-3). Eventually, the forgotten was remembered, the sentence of death over his people was removed, diggers of evil pits fell into their pits, powers changed hands and the gatekeeper was sentenced to the palace as Prime Minister and the keeper of economic gates (Esther 7 & 8).
It doesn’t matter where life, health and people have banished you to – are you in Lodebar, on the mountain crying or at the gate of the palace awaiting death? I have good news for you because it is not over. The nation, its leaders, your friends and family may forget you but God will not forget you. He will remember you, He will banish you to awe and He will cause your lift up and change your story for His glory. God will intervene for you, He will calm the present storm and banish you not to Awe but the citadel of awe.
Have you been banished to Awe, either through your fault or not, I appeal to you, during this time of Lent, to please come to Him (Matthew 11:28) and ask Him to forgive you your sins (Isaiah 1:18), plead with Him that you will, henceforth, live as His child, ask Him to engrave you on the palms of His hands and that your walls will ever be before Him (Isaiah 49:16). When you do this, He would take you from Awe and banish you to a better place of awe. At those places where you have been forgotten, He will remember you for greater honour, people will bring your sons in their arms and your daughters on their hips. Kings shall be your foster fathers and their queens your nursing mothers. You shall surely celebrate and be celebrated in the name of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Oh Lord, I cry to you during this time of Lent to sentence me from Awe to the city of awe in the name of Jesus Christ