In the God’s Covenant, My Blessing Blog, we talked about how the great blessing from the covenant is Jesus Himself, and He is enough! In this blog, God’s Promise, My Response, we will expound upon that.
Abraham was promised by God to be the Father of a great nation, but he did not have a son. He and his wife, Sarah, decided the best thing to do was have Abraham sleep with Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, so Abraham could have offspring. However, this was not part of God’s plan. The child of promise, the child of the Spirit, would come through Abraham and Sarah together. Abraham and Sarah got tired of waiting on God.
Eventually, Hagar becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, Ishmael. Fourteen years later, Sarah and Abraham have a baby together, Isaac. Sarah now has strong resentment in her heart towards Hagar and Ishmael, and this has been brewing for some time. She may even feel shame over the decision she made to have Abraham sleep with Hagar. Nonetheless, she has Abraham kick Hagar and Ishmael out of their home.
I want to emphasize that God promised Abraham to be a father of a great nation, and God in His faithfulness, made good on His promise. The problem was Abraham’s initial response. He did not wait on God’s timing and jumped ahead by having a son through Hagar.
I believe many things about this passage, but I certainly believe that Sarah could have had a different response toward Hagar and Ishmael if she would have let herself be overwhelmed by God’s compassion and love. She did not choose that. She wanted them gone.
Abraham had them leave and was even encouraged by God to do so. I don’t think that means that God was commanding Abraham to kick them out, but nonetheless, He did encourage Abraham to have Hagar and Ishmael leave their home.
This is tough to wrestle with, but I think God gave me some unique insight. Ishmael was not the child of the promise. Isaac was. The question is this: Did God forget about Ishmael? I don’t think so. Go read Genesis 21. Focus on the phrase “God heard” or “God was with”. God was faithful to Abraham and fulfilled His promise to him through the birth of Isaac. At the same time, I believe God was faithful to Ishmael. How? He heard him and was with him.
Is this not what God promised us in Christ? He is Emmanuel, God with us. In John 6 we are reminded that God wants us to want Him for Him, not just for His miracles. He wants us to run to Him for satisfaction. He wants us to consume Him. He is a faithful God and will be with us, as He was with Abraham, Isaac, and even Ishmael! Not only will He be with us, but He will satisfy our every need! What a faithful God!