• William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 6, 2021

Daily Reading: Genesis 19-21

Genesis 21:9

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

In Genesis 12:7 God promised Abraham this: And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land (speaking of the Promise Land). The only problem was Abraham had no child of his own. So, he, being a man of action attempted to get God to accept Eliezer of Damascus, Abraham’s steward, to be his heir. To which the Bible states: And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir (Genesis 15:4). Then Abraham’s wife, Sarah, decided to help God out, after all she and Abram were old and the prospect of them having a child seemed improbable. Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child with Hagar, an Egyptian maid in their house. Again, being a man of action, Abraham followed his wife’s advice and had a child by Hagar which they named Ishmael.

Then, when Abraham was 100 years old, at a time when Sarah could no longer have children, they had a child; a boy they named Isaac. Isaac was a miracle of God. He was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. The impossible became reality. Isaac is a wonderful testimony that all of God’s promises will come to pass, even if the fulfillment of them is humanly impossible. This is what God does, He does the impossible for His children.

But wait. There is Ishmael. What would become of him? God also gave a promise to him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:20) In fact, Ishmael is widely held as the father of the Arab race, while Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob became the father of the Jews.

Therefore, even unto today, there is a root of conflict between the Arabs, the largely Islamic nations, and Israel, the Jewish nation. But there is an interesting note to consider. After the events of chapter 19, wherein Abraham cast out Ishmael, the two are never seen together in life again. Also, after Abraham offered up Isaac (chapter 23) and God stopped him as this was a test of faith, those two, Abraham and Isaac were never mentioned again as being together in life. But…

In Genesis 25:9 both Isaac and Ishmael came together in peace to bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah. So, for a time, there was reconciliation between these two. In fact, the entire story that you have, or will, read today about Abimelech and Abraham proves one thing. They both did wrong to the other, and both made peace with the other. Proving that there can be peace, even between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael. Also, that there can be peace between you and your enemy. Just as Proverbs 16:7 states: When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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