Summary: God keeps His promises even though people make mistakes and God’s ultimate promise is grace, peace, godliness and eternal life through Jesus Christ!
Why is there war in the Mideast?
Some say it’s because of the land; some say it’s religious.
Just like anything else, the important question is always,
“What does God say?”
As we have been studying the Book of Genesis, we have been learning the origins of many things in our lives today. Why is there constant strain in the Mideast? It is in the Mideast where God made a covenant with Abraham, who was given the title “father of many nations”!
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 12, v1-7....
God promised a great nation through Abraham, when he was 75 years old.
But for 10 years, Abraham and Sarah couldn’t have a baby. So, Sarah and Abraham decided to take action by having a baby through an Egyptian servant. We read in Genesis 16, Abraham had his first son Ishmael through Hagar, when he was 85 years old.
Turn to Genesis 16:10-12.....
God promised to Ishmael many descendants, but there would be hostility.
Turn to Genesis 17:17-21....
God promised a son to Abraham through Sarah.
Today, we will read the story of the birth of Isaac and the start of the conflict between nations.
Please turn to Chapter 21 of Genesis, v1-34.....
God was gracious to Sarah by doing what He promised her! 2 things we can note here about God from v1;
#1 - God is gracious; meaning God gives to people what they don’t deserve. Some may say God is unfair! He gives blessings to those undeserving. God may be unfair but, if God isn’t gracious, should any person be alive when they’re all sinners? If God isn’t gracious, can anyone really go back to God? It may seem unfair; but thank God for his graciousness!
God was gracious to Sarah and #2 - God keeps His promises!
Now, Isaac was born to Abraham through Sarah and it was a time for celebrating what God was doing! But what happened when Isaac was about 2 years old??
You see, even though Abraham and his household was chosen by God to be blessed, everyone was prone to sin. And all of them did sin!
Ishmael, who was 15 years old at that time, sinned by mocking his young half-brother. Sarah sinned with her selfishness. These sins created conflict in the “chosen” family and Abraham was distressed! What happens when one becomes so emotional strained? I’m guessing, like many of us, Abraham was blaming God during this time.
But did you notice what God did?
God intervened and reassured Abraham of his promises! Even when people sin, God is always in control and will keep His promises! Let us quickly note that God gives promises of blessings but also promises of judgment and He keeps His promises!
And so, Abraham obeyed God and sent Hagar and Ishmael to the desert. Hagar and Ishmael ran out of food and water and were near death! Hagar and Ishmael sobbed with grief! How could this happen? God promised Hagar that Ishmael would be a great nation? Did God forget? Of course not!
And so, God spoke to Hagar and reassured her of God’s promise. Look again at v20-21....
And so, 2 different nations arose from Abraham; one from Ishmael and one from Isaac.
The rest of Genesis 21 (v22-34) tells us how Abraham dealt with his neighbors. We can note 2 things from this passage: #1. Abraham was a good witness to his neighbors! King Abimelech noted that God was with Abraham. #2. Because men are sinful, there is a need to be watchful. It was clear that God was involved in Abraham’s life and where he lived, but people still tried to cheat and treaties needed to be established to maintain peace.