Today’s Reading: Genesis 21:8 – Genesis 25
If you did not know, three man religions of the world count Abraham as a spiritual father – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Thinking about that fact makes the reading of Abraham and his descendants lives in Genesis much more interesting. Many scholars and theologians consider that Arabs and Islam descend directly from Ishmael and that Jews and Judaism descend from Isaac. In the story they both receive blessing from God, but Isaac receives the special blessing. One of the prophecies from God to Hagar about Ishmael is found in in reading from a few days ago, it states that the descendants of Ishmael will be in conflict with his brothers forever.
Genesis 16:11 – 13 (NIV)
11 The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
12 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.”
13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
If you take a look at this list of current wars and conflicts occurring in the world today, you will see that many of these wars do have descendants of Abraham on one side or the other.
Those conflicts’ roots can be traced back partly to some of our reading today:
Genesis 21:8 – 12 (NLT)
8 When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. 9 But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac. 10 So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!”
11 This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. 12 But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.”
I don’t claim to understand why this situation came to be. I don’t know why God allows there to be so much hatred by one people against another. Nonetheless, I am sure that this verse has something to say about the situation:
Romans 5:13 (NIV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
Whatever the cause, today’s reading helps reinforce the idea that what was written 3000 years ago is still applicable to us today. Reading God’s word helps us put today’s events into context.