101-121-Genesis Part 2 Chapter 21
As we go through life we find few people who do as they have committed themselves to do. What God says you can consider it not only what will be, but done. In Genesis 18:14 God said that at the appointed time he would return to Sarah and she would have given birth to a son. I can imagine that as Sarah’s pregnancy advanced people were amazed that a woman of her age could carry a child. On the appointed day the Lord returned, as He said He would, and Sarah gave birth to a son. In spite of the impossibility of a woman her age giving birth to a child she did. People must have marveled at the impossibility of this. Nothing is impossible for God to accomplish and I marvel in view of His creation and wonder why we cannot trust His Word. (Mark 10:27)
Sarah gave birth to Isaac, as the Lord had said. In Genesis 18:12 Sarah had laughed with doubt that she at her age could have carried and given birth to a child. Her laughter was that of doubt and the Lord rebuked her and she believed. By her faith in the one who is faithful, God, she accomplished the work that God had given her to do. (Hebrews 11:11)
Abraham gave the name of Isaac to his son as God had directed in Genesis 17:19. The name means laughter which may signify the laughter Abraham had at the news he would have a son. It may also signify the laughter that Sarah had in distrust of God’s promise that now is laughter of joy. On the eighth day Abraham circumcised Isaac as God had directed for the sign of the covenant between him and God. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born and 1896 years before the birth of Christ. Sarah now laughed with joy in her heart and in a spirit of deep thankfulness to God. The entire house of Abraham laughed with her much like the neighbors of Elizabeth with the birth of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:58)
Ishmael being the first born of Abraham believing that he should receive the birthright began to mock his younger brother Isaac. It does not say how serious this mocking was but it was more than the usual conflicts found in the brotherhood of families. Sarah became distressed at the treatment of Isaac by Ishmael and demanded that Abraham put Hagar and her son Ishmael out. She referred Hagar as a bondswoman, which she was as Sarah’s maidservant. Paul made this comparison in Galatians 4:28-30 that the son born of the flesh persecuted the son born of the spirit. As Ishmael was born not of God’s choosing and Isaac was the promised heir to continue the bloodline to Jesus Christ. Abraham was saddened by Sarah’s request to cast out one of his sons. Abraham had natural affection for his son Ishmael and also knew of the promise God had made that he would be prosperous and the father of nations himself. If Abraham followed the plea of his wife Sarah, how could this be true for Ishmael being put out without proper training and preparation for life? God comforted Abraham’s consternation and told him to comply with Sarah’s request. God also reminded Abraham that Isaac is the called seed. The covenant seed of Abraham must be a people set aside and not mingled in with people who were not in the covenant. God’s assurance turned alright what Sarah had said.
The disrespectful behavior of Hagar and Ishmael resulted in the departure from the comforts of Abraham. Those who abuse privileges soon lose them and not knowing when they are well off will learn the worth of mercies by the need of them. They are sent away with meager supply in a hot country. The water soon ran dry and Hagar could not bear to see Ishmael die. God heard the cries of Ishmael and called to Hagar telling her to lift the boy up. God reminds Hagar the He would make a great nation from him. Then God opened her eyes to a nearby well and she went and filled the water skin and gave Ishmael a drink. Ishmael continued to live in the wilderness and Hagar found him a wife from Egypt. Those who are born of the flesh tend to take up in the wilderness of this world while children of the promise seek the heavenly home in Canaan, and do not rest until they are there.
Abimelech respected Abraham because of his faith in God. Abimelech also believed that the God of Abraham would continue to bless him. Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant together that Abraham would not abuse Abimelech or his offspring and Abraham would return kindness for the kindness Abimelech had shown him. Men living in covenant with God should do all they can to improve the moral state of those whom they share the land with. Those who put their faith in the Lord God should never neglect or be ashamed of their worship of God.