Summary: The birth of Isaac
January 23, 2011
In our study of Genesis we’ve seen that Adam didn’t do what God had commanded—“Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge.” But Adam couldn’t help himself, and his disobedience brought sin into the world. His body was created in perfection, and he wasn’t meant to die, but with sin came a curse that caused him to begin to rot; he passed that curse down to all his descendants.
But God had a plan to redeem men from death and sin—He would send His Son, Jesus, to die for us so that the curse would be removed.
But to start this plan God called a man named Abraham to follow Him to the land of Canaan where He would give him a son, and Jesus would eventually be born through this line.
But Abraham hasn’t seen this son yet. He’s waited 25 years since his call, and now he’s 100. He tried to have a son with Hagar, Sarah’s servant, but God rejected it. And so, Abraham has been waiting and waiting for the son of the promise to be born.
Well, today the wait is over:
And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
The Lord always does what He says He’ll do.
2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
God’s promise was in God’s time—Abraham couldn’t rush it, and God wouldn’t delay it. Everything happened as God planned. And if you think about it, God had a good reason for making them wait. The son of the promise had to be born under supernatural circumstances.
It was no miracle when Hagar got pregnant—that was just the natural cycle of the world. But for 90 year old Sarah to have a child is something special. Only God could do it.
3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
This is the name God told him to give him (17:19), and it means “he laughs.” It’s appropriate since Abraham and Sarah both laughed when they heard the promise. Sarah laughs in joy after he’s born, and she says that everyone will laugh with her when they hear her laughter.
4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
Earlier she laughed before in disbelief; God promised a son, and she thought it was a big joke, so she laughed about it. When God confronted her about it, she lied and said she hadn’t laughed. But now she laughs in joy. This is what she’s wanted all her life, and I can imagine her waking up in the middle of the night just to check and make sure she’s not dreaming.
7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.
No one would have thought this was possible a year ago (not even she had believed it), but God made it happen. A year ago no one would have thought that Sarah would be able to nurse a child, but, yet again, God made it happen. Even though these two had “waxed old” (they had worn out), God was able to give them the pleasures of parenthood because nothing is impossible with Him.
8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
He was probably about two or three years old when he was weaned, anyway he was a young boy and Abraham has a big feast to celebrate it.
9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
By now Ishmael is about 16 or so. It doesn’t tell us how or why he’s mocking, but in the next verse it seems to suggest that it has something to with the inheritance: Sarah says “he will not be heir with my son.”
Whatever the reason, we know from Galatians (4:29) that Paul calls his mocking persecution. He says that the persecution the early church faced was the same as the persecution Isaac faced from Ishmael. So it’s not just a little brotherly teasing—it seems like Ishmael hated and despised Isaac.
This too was also promised of God—that Ishmael’s hand would be against his brothers (16:12).
10Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son:
Apparently Hagar wasn’t just an innocent bystander. When Ishmael was born Hagar began to despise Sarah (16:4), and there’s no indication that anything’s changed. She knows that her son will get the first half of the inheritance, and she’s no doubt jealous.