It was the other day when I went over the status of the blog I found I had zero visitors and zero views on my blog. Even though I felt a bit offended, later in evening I found I had a few visitors who visited the blog. This incident gave me a new perspective thought on zero.
So what does zero mean? What is the importance of zero? Zero is a mathematical number contributed by Indians, which is symbolized by a circle ‘0‘ it means ‘nothing‘ or ‘no value’. It is considered the starting digit of the numbers. It is a value which students fear in getting in their exam results and it’s a value adults fear about their life! Zero has no value of its own even if you put a million zeros together it still values zero! But when a zero is put even with the smallest integer ‘1‘ on its left side the value of zero suddenly changes from ‘0′ to ’10‘. If you put one more zero, it becomes ‘100‘. Then 1000, 10000, 100,000 and so on as per each addition of zeros! We write a billion as ‘1,000,000000‘ (1 followed by 9 zeros). But if the 1 is gone, it’s just 9 zeros ‘000000000’ which values nothing but ‘0’! We also have to note when big numbers are mentioned like millions and billions we often round the number and say the figures on the left end, followed by billion, million etc. For example, if you look at the population of the world it is estimated around 7.2 billion people are there on this earth today. We say 7.2 billion by rounding 7.178 billion. But it’s not exactly 7,1780,000000 but those zeros can be representing some digits. But it’s not considered much as it cannot bring any big change to the value 7.2 billion.
Like a number line which starts from zero and keeps increasing depending upon your job, family, social status, your life can also be valued. If an average middle class person is valued in thousands a big corporate will be classified in millions and billions. Depending on the bigger position you hold and higher society you live your value increases! But there are certain times when the so called great people who valued in billions and trillions lose everything and became zero in life and those in zeros went to higher values in life!
In Genesis we see two great men. One Abraham, who was called the friend of God and Lot Abraham’s nephew. When God called Abraham, he obeyed and set forth to a place he has never seen before with his wife Sarah and Lot. They were not that great when God called them, but when they obeyed God, God blessed them abundantly.
‘The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.’ (Genesis 12:1-5 NIV)
But when we come to the next chapter 13 we see as a result of obeying God, God blessed Abram and Lot so much that the land couldn’t afford them!
‘Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.‘ (Genesis 13:2 NIV)
‘Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.’ (Genesis 13: 5-6 NIV)
Here we realize as a result of obeying God, God blessed not only Abram but also Lot greatly. Their value in society was uplifted. They were considered great men as a result of obeying God. But when the shepherds of Abram and Lot began quarrelling they decided to split up. Abram told Lot to choose any land for Abram will go the other way and he saw the land of Sodom and Gomorrah very beautiful and resourceful land and decided to go there and Abram went straight the other way. Abram had felt pain when Lot departed and he obtained a great piece of land therefore God appeared to him and promised him to give the entire land to him! If Abram and Lot were valued in 100,000 Abrams value increased to 10,000,000. And Lot remained at 100,000. But they were greater and richer than the society around them who may be valued at 10,000.
‘The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”’ (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)
What happened next is truly remarkable. The land of Sodom and Gomorrah were attacked by foreign kings and they captured everything, including Lot his family and possessions! Lot who was valued ‘100,000’ suddenly became ‘0’! He lost everything. But Abram when he heard Lot was captured, he went with 318 trained men who were born in his household and fought against those foreign kings and recovered Lot, his family and all possessions along with other people! Now Abram was considered even more valued as he defeated the five kings and rescued many people of Sodom, Gomorrah and surrounding lands! If he was valued in the millions he is valued in the billions now! And Lot was lucky to regain all his possessions back and become back to ‘100,000 from 0!’
In the rest of chapters we see God blessing Abraham more and more and in Genesis 18 we see God himself with two angels came to visit Abraham! Imagine how much more was he valued through those chapters as a result of obeying God! He was valued beyond measure and God kept blessing him! However, in Genesis 19 we see the two angels coming to Lot’s house and informing them to get ready and leave everything and run for their lives for God is planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins have reached up to heaven! Lot, his wife and two daughters without having any option but leave everything and start running for their lives! The angels warn them never to look back but as you know Lot’s wife looked back on the way and she turned into a pillar of salt which still stands in Israel as a result of disobedience before God! Lot he lost his wife, all his possessions and the later life was far worst than ever. He who was valued in 100,000 lost everything and became a complete 0 in life! He was blessed when he was with Abraham, but when he left Abraham and ran away from God to the worldly pleasures he was destroyed and brought down to zero.
Therefore, my dear readers, don’t run away from God. You may find things more resourceful and pleasurable, but it won’t last long, for you will lose everything and will be destroyed in shame.
A similar example is found in the book of 1 Samuel. Here a shepherd boy who was ignored by his own household was anointed as the future king of Israel! It’s none other than ‘King David.’ God brought him from absolute zero to great places. He increased his value from zero to millions and billions! He had a son named Absalom, who tried to overtake his father’s kingdom and in a way he succeeded. Prince Absalom was born when King David was a king or in other words, while King David was valued in the society. Obviously Prince Absalom was also valued high. But as we go further, we see as a result of Absalom turning against his father trying to overtake the power He was killed like a dog! He was beaten until death. He who was valued greatly in society was killed like a dog! He fell down from a priceless value of millions and billions to absolute zero!
Therefore, when you acquire great positions in life like Lot and Absalom don’t get proud as the famous proverb says ‘pride goes before the fall.’ Be humble so that God will use you more for the glory of his name like Abraham and David.
Coming back to Abraham, God continued to bless him more and more and he was a great man of priceless value when he died. His son Issac also went along father’s way and God continued to bless him. When Issac had children, he had twins. Esau and Jacob. Jacob was cunning and he deceived his brother Esau twice, first for the elder brother’s inheritance and second he disguised himself as Esau and made his father Issac to bless him instead of Esau in his older days. After this Jacob couldn’t stay at his house anymore for Esau his elder brother wanted to kill him. Jacob left to his mother’s house all alone and with nothing in his hands. See he was born and bought up in a rich family, but now he’s running for his life empty handed to his mother’s house! He who was valued priceless has become zero! He just had a stick with him. But for the next 20 years he worked hard for Laban his mother’s brother, and he deceived Jacob ten times! For when Jacob deceived Esau twice Jacob was cheated ten times! But he humbled before God and God started to bless him. From zero God started to bless him! God blessed him so much that when God asked him to go back to his father’s house he had become a rich man.
‘I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps.’ (Genesis 32:10 NIV)
But he was afraid to meet his brother, for he thought Esau might kill him and at Jabbok Jacob sent everything ahead of him and he remained alone there he prayed to God and God appeared to him and he wrestled with him the whole night till morning in prayer and God blessed him and he changed his name from Jacob to Israel! He’s the father of all Israelites all around the world! From zero God lifted him high to a great nation! God blessed him so much that his son Joseph became the second to Pharaoh of Egypt and God made Jacob to bless the Pharaoh of Egypt in his later days! See when Jacob surrendered before God, even though he was brought to nothing, God blessed him and brought him to a great nation Israel! God lifted him from absolute zero to billions and trillions!
Another similar incident is seen in 1 Chronicles 4 a man named ‘Jabez‘. ‘Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.’ (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV)
As the verse suggests he was not born honorable. He was named ‘pain‘ by his very own mother! He was not respectable in his society. Some say he might be disabled. Whatever it was he was considered absolute zero before everyone. But he didn’t lose hope where everyone discarded him, he called out to God and requested to bless him and enlarge his territory and to God to be with him and keep him safe that he will be free from his pain. And the verse says God granted his request and he became more honorable than his brothers! Not only that, but when you look at 1 Chronicles 2:55, we see God blessed Jabez very much that a great city was developed in his name from were great scientists of those days lived!
‘And the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the Rekabites.’ (1 Chronicles 2:55 NIV)
Jabez who was once called pain considered an utter failure and zero when cried to God, God brought him out of nothing to great values.
Therefore, my dear readers if you are going through similar situations as Jacob or Jabez don’t lose heart. Don’t be upset. Let the world value you nothing or a big zero in life, but if you cry out to God, he’s able to lift you, he’s able to transform you to valuable beyond any numbers can express. Humble yourself and surrender before God. He will lift you from all your troubles. People whom you trust may leave you. People whom you considered will remember might forget you let the whole world turn against you and consider you a big zero. Don’t get despaired. For God is able to change you from ‘Zero’ to a ‘Hero’ in life!
‘It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.’ (Psalm 118:8-9 NIV)
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)
‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NIV)
‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)
‘I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.‘ (Psalm 40:1-5 NIV)