Ever know a kid who is beyond energetic? A young man who doesn’t seem to get along with others well? One who seems to have a chip on his shoulder, has a victim mentality, and is aggressive to others?
Ishmael, the first son of Abram, born to Hagar, not his wife, Sarai, was that kind of guy. God, through the angel, revealed much about Ishmael’s character to Hagar saying, “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (v. 12)
Interesting to note that the Muslims, in their Islamic faith, trace their heritage back to Abraham through the line of Ishmael, this son of Hagar. While Christians and Jews recognize the lineage of the chosen One to be found through Isaac, the son of Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah) his wife, the Muslims identify Ishmael as the chosen son through whom God’s promise is given.
In our culture today, there are many talking heads in politics; national and religious leaders and the like. In the sea of rhetoric chaos, the divisions between the people of the middle east (Muslims, Jews and Christians) and across the world can all be boiled down to this fork in the road: Ishmael or Isaac? In our reading of Genesis, Isaac won’t be born for another decade (but we’ll get there soon enough in our reading). 😊 Until then, let us be reminded of God’s promise to Ishmael as well. Not only was his hostile character revealed, but also the fact that God promised Hagar very similar blessing as He did to Abram . . . that Ishmael’s descendants would be too numerous to count. (v.10)
Amidst the blessings and chaos in our sin-filled world, we see God at work…working out His Will, His Story (in History) to bring about blessings and life for all who humbly trust in Jesus, the One sent for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike!
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, Your word is full of Your wondrous and wise work in the midst of the lives of sinful people. For that I am grateful for my life is far from perfect. Have mercy upon me and all Christians, all Jews, and all Muslims. Bring us all to trust in You, through the one and only savior, Your Son, Jesus, the Christ. In His strong and precious name I pray. Amen.”