The Discussion So Far

So far we had discussed the following

1. Introduction

2. The Sons Of Keturah

Now we will look at Ishmael the son of Abraham

Ishmael

If we were to take out Zimran to Shuah, we are left with the two sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac.

Ishmael was born at the command of Sarah, let us look more into the circumstances of his birth.

Initially God had promised Abraham that he will have a son in Gen 15, God made a covenant with him, promising that he will have a son. 10 years have passed and Sarah had not given birth to a child. Therefore, Sarah wanted to fulfill Gods will using her method, so he told Abraham to marry her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Then Abraham listened to her and did not consult God. So when Abraham is 86, Ishmael was born.

God remained silent for the period when Abraham was 86-99 a good 13 years. and when he finally spoke to Abraham, his first sentence was a rebuke

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” – YHWH (Gen 17:1)

So God was very displeased with Abraham for what he did, but this time God decided to give him a promise, he even went to the extent to give the name of the child Isaac. However, the fact goes is that Ishmael was the firstborn son.

When Isaac was born, Abraham was 100 years old and Ishmael was 14. He was well aware that he is the firstborn son, and he was suppose to get the inheritance of Abraham.

So he started to scoff at Isaac, this was seen by Sarah the wife of Abraham

“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing.” –Moses Gen 21:8

So this time she asked Abraham to chase Hagar and Ishmael away. This event troubled the heart of Abraham. Obviously he do love the child Ishmael,so this time Abraham seek the counsel of God. and once again told Abraham that he had chosen Isaac to receive the in heritance. Therefore Abraham is to listen to Sarah and sent them away.

“So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.” –Moses (Gen 21:14)

The Modern Ishmael

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic.” – Paul (Gal 4:22-24)

Therefore the modern Ishmael can be liken to Christians who choose follow their fleshly desires and they allow their flesh to rule over them. They may have a heart to serve God, but their hearts are often far away from God

Jesus once said

“ These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And[honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” –Jesus (Matt 15:8-9)

They rather hold on to their traditions and made void the commandments of God. Sometimes in their zealousness to keep their traditions, they unknowingly started to scoff at people who believe in the commands of God, Just like how Ishmael scoffed at Isaac.

Let us not mistaken that people who are like Ishmael is without the power of God For Jesus illustrated this scene about the last days

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Jesus (Matt 7:21-23)

It is noted that these people do preach in the name of JEsus, they can even cast out demons and do wonders in the name of God. The only thing different is that they do not practice the will of God.

Therefore, let us learn to keep the commands of God and not take liberty to decide what we should follow and what we need not.

As we are reading this, it is worthwhile to note that the flesh often is at war against the spirit, it is just like Ishmael scoffing at Isaac. It is constantly at war against the spirit.

Let us constantly remind ourselves of what Paul says

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” – Paul (Rom 8:13-14)

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