Summary: Throughout our lives, we encounter both triumphs and tragedies. Victories and struggles. In all of them, God’s grace is constant, as we will see through the child God gives Sarah, the comfort God gives Abraham, the water God gives Hagar, and the Salvatio
Events can change IN A MOMENT. Our emotions can go from the top of the world to
the bottom of the barrel in flash of time.
The year was 1986. By now, the launch of the Space Shuttle was news but not like it was
during the first few launches. This launch was different because for the first time in
history, a teacher was part of the crew and would conduct class instruction from orbit on
the space shuttle. Out of 11,000 teachers, one was chosen. Her name was Christa
McAuliffe. Students at Concord HS in New Hampshire gathered in the school
auditorium. It was an atmosphere of celebration. McAuliffe was THEIR teacher and she
was a celebrity. But the joy and celebration that filled the school auditorium was
displaced just 73 seconds into the flight of the Challenger. Something had gone terribly
wrong and within minutes it was obvious that everyone on board was killed. The
children’s cheers and party horns went silent, as a day of celebration turned into a day of
Throughout our lives, we encounter both triumphs and tragedies. Victories and struggles.
In all of them, God’s care is constant, as we will see in Genesis 21. This section begins
with the joyful celebration of Isaac’s birth, and ends with the sad expulsion of Hagar and
Ishmael. In both parts of the story, God demonstrates his GRACE for those who call
God’s Showed His Grace When He Visited Sarah. Gen 21:1-7.
Verse one sa“God was gracious to Sarah.” root meaning = to “attend to with care”
God fulfilled what he said. God promised in Genesis 17 that a child would be born to
Abraham through Sarah, his wife. Although this was humanly impossible, God
demonstrated his power. As instructed by the Lord, Abraham named his son Isaac. Gen
17:19... “your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish
my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” (Genesis
Sarah gives testimony to God’s faithfulness and power. (21:6-7). She proclaims that God
has brought ME laughter. 21:6. Everyone who hears will LAUGH. 21:7. God did
something impossible for Sarah. Compare 21:7 with Gen 18:12 “So Sarah laughed to
herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this
The details of this part of the story reveals that God was teaching something to Abraham
and Sarah. These lessons are true for us today! Ray Pritchard makes the following
observations in his sermon “God’s Good vs. God’s Best” (Ray Ray Pritchard, “God’s
Good vs. God’s Best,” preached June 1996, www.keepbelieving.org) .
1. They learned that God keeps his word. Gen 21:1 “the Lord did for
Sarah what He had promised...”
2. They learned that God’s timing is always Perfect. This birth
means more now than it would have 25 years ago, or even 75 years
We MESS UP on our Timing.
*Saying the WRONG thing at the WRONG TIME
*Investing when the Market is UP and withdrawing when the
Marked is DOWN
*The main dish is ready but the Potatoes are not done.
*But GOD’s TIMING is always perfect.
3. They learned that God’s power is unlimited. Gen 21:7 “who would
have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?”
4. They learned that God can turn sorrow into joy.
a. The scene in Abraham’s tent would have been joyous.
b. But the JOY soon turned to SADNESS.
2-3 years pass, but the TEXT gives us the indication that it passed from one event to the
next. The focus of the narrative switches from the birth of Isaac to the time when he was
weaned, most likely about 2 years later. This part of the story continues to teach us
something about God’s grace.
God’s Grace in Comforting Abraham. Gen 21:8-13
Ishmael is now 16-17 years old. We know this because in Gen 16:3 Abraham is 85 when
Hagar gets pregnant. Abraham is 86 when Ishmael is born. In Gen 17:1 Abraham is 99
when God reveals that Sarah will have a son. Abraham is now 100 when Isaac is born,
making Ishmael about 14 . NOW, Isaac is weaned, prob 2 years later, making Ishmael
16. If you have seen paintings of Hagar fleeing with Ishmael, they normally make
Ishmael to look as if he is a little child of 6-7 years of age. Actually, he would have been
a young man at this time. It does not make the story less tragic, but it does fit the details
of the Abraham narrative more clearly.
At this time in Isaac’s young life, his teen half-brother Ishmael mocks Isaac. Perhaps is
jealous. Perhaps he is angry or has sensed Sarah’s hostility toward him. There is MORE