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Genesis 21:34 - The Promise Delivered - Part 2
We continue with Genesis chapter 21 which we started last week.
Vs. 9-11 - “But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, ‘Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.’ The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.”
Keep in mind here, that in the household of Abraham you have a blended family. So there’s all kinds of insecurity issues going on! How many have blended families and know what I’m talking about!?
So, here’s Isaac’s big day, the weaning feast! Now, there’s about 13 years between Ishmael and Isaac which would mean that when Isaac was weaned, that Ishmael was somewhere between 15-18 years old.
So, he’s basically an ignorant teenage boy is what you got going on here! And those who have teenage boys know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve never had a teenage boy but your a guy, you still know because you were one yourself and know what I’m talking about!
They do not possess - and I’m trying to put this eloquently - but, for the most part, they do not possess the social skills necessary to create a harmonious environment within the home. They have a poor sense of timing, and many things they say and the WAY they say them, and the way they react, and the way that they respond to the things that YOU say - they do not tend to create harmony in the home!
So you’ve got this teenage boy who’s been “king of the hill” and grown up in a very pampered environment, and he’s #1 in the household of Abraham.
Now, all of a sudden, he’s no longer #1, but he’s been taken down from that spot, and here in vs. 9, where I had you underline “mocking,” I don’t know if he’s making goofy faces at the kid or what, but somehow little Issac is getting on Ishmael’s nerves here, and so Sarah’s natural instincts appear to kick in and it appears that mama-bear’s on the warpath, and of course you can imagine this wasn’t pleasant for Abraham, and she’s really getting in Abraham’s face, and it sounds like she’s saying - “I want her and this brat out of here.”
To you and I it appears she’s really putting it to Abraham here, but picking it up in vs. 12 now, we’re going to discover that Sarah’s not flying off the handle as much as she is just hearing a prophetic and profound word from the Lord.
Vs. 12-21 - “But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through
Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.’
Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
So, Abraham rose early in the morning and took break and and a skein of water - Now notice God says He’s going to take care of these guys, but see what Abe is doing here - he sends them out with supplies.
And there’s also another picture here - we have the son of the promise and the son of the flesh. In Ishmael we have a picture of the son of the flesh being put outside of the camp of God, and we’ll talk more on that in a minute.
“When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid;God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.”
So, Ishmael, taking a wife from Egypt is not going to diminish the antagonism that’s already building, and we’ll get to that.
There are a whole lot of lessons in this passage of the text here. Let’s briefly go through a couple of them.
#1 is a lesson for us men, that we need to be sensitive as men to the Lord working through our wives and speaking into our lives and our homes!
Also Understand that the antagonism that exists between the Arab and Jewish people today has its roots here in chapter 21. Some of you know that through Ishmael, he is the original ancestor of the Arab people. So, we see that antagonism beginning to build right here.
Sarah’s catching onto it because she’s heard from the Lord. The Apostle Paul in Gal. 4, Romans 4 and Romans 9, has really developed this contrast between Isaac the son of promise and Ishmael the son of the flesh.
And why is he called the son of the flesh? You remember the story? Abraham and Sarah had a lapse in faith and they couldn’t wait on the promise of God, so they took matters into their own hands, and poof - out pops Al-Qaeda!
So you have Paul now who really makes and develops in his Epistles in 3 major portions of texts, the contrast between Isaac, the son of the promise, and Ishmael, the son of the flesh, and then Paul extends that contrast to explain to his audience the difference between grace and law.
Grace is believing in the promises of God by faith. Flesh is believing in the law, in our own efforts, that I can somehow earn or merit God’s favor or salvation. And the picture here of that mentality is being put outside the camp of the Kingdom.
Those people that believe that they are somehow going to earn their way into God’s favor or into salvation, they are outside of the Kingdom - that is NOT the Gospel.
We are saved by Grace through Faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Sarah sees this mocking, she sees this antagonism beginning to take place between these 2 boys and she’s heard from the Lord here - “Hey, this antagonism is not going to stop!”
Men, we need to understand that God has wired men and women differently, and that women tend to be a bit more spiritually sensitive than men. Of course we need to test all things, but we need to be sensitive to the Lord working through our spouses.
Second lesson - God has just said: “Hey, I’m going to take care of this kid.” And He’s been saying that for chapters.
But what does Abraham do? He get’s supplies and gives it to them for wherever they are going. But why did he give them supplies? Didn’t God just say He’s going to take care of them and watch over them?
Listen - here’s the lesson we need to learn. Even though we may have the promises of God, we’re still not to be stupid!
They’re getting ready to go out into the wilderness and they need supplies. “But God said He’s gonna...” Well yeah He said He’s going to take care of them, and one of the ways God often takes care of us is by causing us to use the good brian that He gave us in the first place!
Ya just don’t send someone out into the wilderness without supplies, even though they’ve got the promises of God! That would be presumption. There’s a difference between faith and presumption. So we have to be careful that we walk by faith and we don’t walk by presumption, assuming God is going to do this or that while we sit on the sidelines.
Third thing I want us to notice that I had you underline, is that this kid becomes an archer.
Now remember that when he was born he was going to become a warrior, that was the prophecy - “From this guy is going to come holy Jihad terrorists.” The prophecy back in Gen. 16:12 was that this guy is gonna hate everybody and everyone is going to hate him. His hand is going to be against everybody and everybody’s hand is going to be against him.
What’s interesting is that the very place Hagar was heading to was the very place that God used to develop her son into the role that He had intended for him.
Often times in our lives, the very things we are fearing (Oh God, don’t take me there), becomes the very things that God will use in our lives to make us what He desires us to be. We get into a trial and we feel like this trial is got us in its tractor beam and its sucking us in, and we’re kicking and clawing our way through.
But then, in hindsight, as we go through that experience we’re able to see - “Ya man, God just used that in my life and He developed me in incredible ways!
Join us next week as we conclude chapter 21 in Genesis.