Summary: Do you carry a burden today? Is life an up hill struggle? Would you be willing to surrender your life as a sacrifice to please God?
The Chosen Sacrifice
Last week I introduced you to the Patriarchs with Please Pass the Patriarchs. The sermon title was to reference the fact that the Patriarchs provide the spice to our collective religious history.
We learned that God called Abram out of Ur or Babylon in order to set him apart from the heathen nations and gods of the Chaldeans.
We learned that the true Living God spoke to Abram and made a covenant(a spiritual promise)with him that would make Abram the father of many nations and that the whole earth would be blessed through him.
This week we look at Ishmael and Isaac his two sons. The one son was from his servant woman Hagar(Ishmael) and the other son Isaac was from his wife Sarah. Isaac was the son of promise the son to whom God would place His covenant on.
Abraham is now 100 years old and Sarah is ninety years old. His son Ishmael is 13 years old and God required that the men of Abrahams household be circumcised. It was not necessarily a good day to visit Abraham because it meant you too were going to be circumcised.
God wanted His people to be distinct in physical characteristic as well as spiritual. Today we have Gods Holy Spirit in us as a spiritual sign of His covenant. Some tribal people use tattoos or scaring or put bones in their nose or ears but the Hebrews sign was one that could not be seen by looking at them when they were clothed. God sees the hidden things.
My wife and I were debating what would be worse having a baby at ninety or being circumcised at 100. She suggested that having a baby at ninety was much more painful.
We see that Abraham carried out Gods request right away. This demonstrates our need to obey God when He speaks to us.
There is a lot of Abraham and Sarahs story we did not cover. We did not look at their escape into and out of Egypt. We did not look at how Abraham pretended to be her brother in order to save his neck. We did not look at Sodom and Gomorrah and Abrahams nephew Lot and Lots wife who got turned into a pillar of salt. You see there is a lot of interesting reading we did not cover. It is my hope you will want to look into these for yourself.
I want to focus on the Patriarchs and today I want us to look at Isaac the son of promise and the chosen sacrifice.
We move ahead in our story to discover that Sarah laughed when God told her she would have a son at ninety years of age and Abraham at 100. I found it interesting to note that Abraham as well as Sarah laughed at the news. Genesis 17:17(Abraham)Genesis 18:12(Sarah)
My bible commentary said that this was a laugh of joy in Sarahs case since it meant that her years of shame would be removed since women who could not bare children were considered to be punished by God for some reason. Now at 100 Sarah would have the last laugh.
I want to back up for just a minute. I want to talk a little about Ishmael and Hagar. Abraham and Sarah showed there lack of faith when they decided they should help God out.
Sarah gave her servant woman to Abraham and Ishmael was the result. God said nothing about needing help to bring about an heir for Abraham but we human beings lack faith and this meddling demonstrates it in a big way.
The bible tells us Ishmael would be the father of 12 tribes and that he would be a wild donkey of a man who would be hostile to all his brothers.
11 The angel of the LORD also said to her
You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to 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 everyones hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.
Ishmael means(God hears) although he is not considered one of the Patriarchs even though his father is Abraham. God distinctly sets Ishmael apart from Isaac and the covenant blessing but God does have plans for Ishmael.
Through Ishmael come all the Arab tribes that are now set against Israel. Just as Israel has 12 tribes so too does Ishmael. I thought that was an interesting bit of history. Maybe that is how we came to have the Palestinian people in Gaza today?
Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away never to be seen again until Abraham dies. But God tells us that Ishmaels descendants and Isaacss descendants will be hostile towards each other.