ABRAHAM’S TWO SONS (Part I)

Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:1-21

“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 slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.'” (Genesis 21:9,10)

Chapter 21 is a bittersweet chapter in the story of Abraham. There is laughter and there are tears. There is rejoicing and there is grief. The chapter contains the story of Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac.

There are some tremendous insights into parenting found in this section of Scripture. It is not an easy task being a parent. Parenting can bring you great joy and it may also lead to times of grief and tears. Parents have a huge responsibility. Their greatest task is to bring their children up to know and to love Christ. It takes the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to do this.

This passage also shows God’s concern for our children. When He established the covenant, God said that the promise is to you and to your children after you. The children of believers are included in God’s covenant. The Lord Jesus showed His love and concern for children when He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 14:14).

The Lord fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah at the right time. The promise was much bigger than the birth of Isaac. The birth of Isaac was critical, but it was only a small part of God’s promise to Abraham. The promise was really about God’s gracious plan of salvation for His people. It was about the coming of the Messiah, the Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

When their son was born, Abraham and Sarah responded in faith and obedience by naming him Isaac. His name means “laugher” (17:15-19). God brought great joy to Sarah and Abraham with the birth of Isaac.

However, Abraham had another son by Sarah’s maid servant. At a celebration honoring the day Isaac was weaned (v. 8), Sarah’s son Ishmael began mocking Isaac. Sarah witnessed Ishmael doing this and she became very protective of Isaac. She demanded that Abraham drive Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham was distressed greatly because of his son Ishmael. This was the consequence of an earlier sin that brought great pain upon Abraham. Instead of trusting God to give them a son, Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands (Genesis 16:1-6).

God confronted Abraham in his pain — “Do not be distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring” (vs. 12,13).

The Jewish people came through Abraham and Isaac. The Arab people came from Ishmael. There has been great conflict between the Jews and the Arabs since that day. The birth of the two sons and their mothers also illustrate two opposing views of salvation. You find an explanation of this in Galatians 4:21-31. We will look at this in tomorrow’s post.

Lord God, thank You for my children and grandchildren. They are a blessing from You. Thank You that the covenant promises apply to them as well as to me. You are a God to me and to my descendants after me. Enable me to have a godly influence upon them and to remind them of the love and grace of my Savior Jesus.

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