Summary: God rejects Abraham's plan and gives him a better one.

• Ill. Todd Coget could feel the pressure. He was beginning to believe he had bit off more than he could chew and his wife was expecting way too much out of him.

• He had to finish painting the kitchen to the house they were building, pick up the kids, and somehow select the things to match the kitchen color they had selected. And he was running out of time.

• To make matters worse, he stepped into the paint tray, getting paint all over his sockless feet and sandals. Time pressure forced him to clean the bottoms of his sandals and keep painting, as fast as he could.

• When he got to a stopping point, he looked at his watch and realized his small kids had to be picked up from his sisters. He hurried out, not even thinking about the paint on his toes.

• When he got to his sister’s house, she had put the kids down for a nap. That created an opportunity for Todd to run to the appliance store and select the appliances.

• When he got there, he remembered his painted toes. He laughed all the way back to the appliance department. To select the right colors, all he had to do was put his tow up against each item.

• He realized, “All things all do work together….”

• God is awesome that way. His solutions are so much better than our plans.

Gen 17:17-18 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!"

• Abraham had become fond of the boy, Ishmael, his son.

• He had considered him the heir of promise until God nixed that idea.

• What did he mean, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!"?

• First, he was praying that God would not abandon Ismael.

• Second, he was praying that this would not cause Ishmael to turn away from God.

• The Targum of Jonathan words it as,"O that Ishmael might live and worship before thee.

• I think that is the prayer of every good parent, that their children might live right before God and that God would bless them in their lives.

• Many believe that this is said under the suspicion that God had rejected Ishmael.

Gen 17:19 God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.

• God’s response was obviously that Abraham was asking God to reconsider, since his wife was beyond child-bearing years.

• But God confirms His plans to use Sarah to mother the son of inheritance.

• But He assures Abraham that He will not forget Ishmael.

Gen 17:20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

• He will be fruitful and blessed.

• Fast forward to Genesis 25.

• Gen 25:13-16 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes.

Gen 17:21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year."

• This is such a vital part of Israel’s history.

• It begins with Ishmael = no. Isaac = yes.

• God called Abraham, but like is true even with his son, Isaac, not all of Abraham’s children are part of the promise.

• You will recall that Isaac had two sons, Joseph and Esau. One chosen, one not.

• God even gives Abraham the date of Isaac’s birth.

• This time next year.

Gen 17:22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.

• Where is Heaven? The simplest description is that Heaven is above our existence.

There are several points I want us to cover for a few minutes that will instruct and encourage us.

1. Our earthly answers are not good enough for God.

• Abraham’s and Sarah’s actions, trying to use the servant girl, Hagar, as a surrogate womb, put several things in action.

• Those actions are associated with heartache, pain, and trouble.

• Ishmael will be the father of the very enemies of Israel throughout history.

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