Refocus on Obedience

When April and I had a few years of marriage under our belt, we felt it was time to start our family. In my mid-thirties I didn’t want to be an Old Abe, rather I wanted to be done before 40. This meant children close together. So, I prayed. God answered my request instead of April’s. Having children back to back to back is not easy. When I told April I wanted to have our third she said YEAH—NO! So, I went back to the Lord and reminded him of His promise and shared how I felt He was going to have to let her know. As the Lord works, He came to her at our Tuesday prayer meeting and said that she would, and he would be a joy. You can see this in his personality. Why tell you this, perhaps you are trying, or maybe you need the reassurance that God has a plan in place. See the Lord planned Isaac’s birth just as He planned His only Son’s birth. Galatians 4:4~But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (NIV) If we want the Walls of Despair Torn Down in our lives, then we must: Remember God can do anything, and Refocus. 

Refocus on obedience (Genesis 21:8-14). When Isaac is weaned (probably around age three), Abraham holds a celebration feast. Ishmael is now about sixteen, for you teenage parents this means there can be some pretty intense jealousy among siblings. Well, this must have been a case of hormones, with the fussy confluence of emotions mixed in a Malay would no doubt ensue. Ishmael is first born but not the child of promise and it would have been the attention given to Isaac that would tip this spear. Genesis 21:9~ But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. (ESV) We don’t know exactly what Ishmael did, but it so angers Sarah she says to Abe Cast them out! This makes Abe very grievous Genesis 21:11~And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. (ESV) Men, we must listen to our wives. Our marriage is about give and take. Did you know the Hebrew word here (יָרַע Yara`) grievous means broken up or to fear and tremble? Some of you fear your wives, that is not what I’m advocating. Marriage is a partnership where two become one, brought together by God, we must work together to keep our marriages healthy that means we can’t afford to just look the other way. Understand this breaks Abe’s heart. At times like this, we need to remember God’s promise of Psalm 34:18~The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (NIV) 

Abe doesn’t want to oust Ishmael. So, unlike last time when he just capitulated to Sarah’s suggestion to have a child with Hagar, this time he wants to be obedient to God’s will. He apparently seeks God, and God says to him in Genesis 21:12~But God said to Abraham, Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. (ESV) This seems unfair because Ishmael’s birth was the result of a lapse of faith by Sarah and Abe. Why then does God tell Father Abe to send Ishmael and Hagar away? I believe it’s because in the next chapter, perhaps a decade later Abe’s faith is going to undergo a test as God challenges Him to trust (22:2). If Father Abe still had Ishmael close to home, he might think that even if Isaac is lost, he’d still have a son in Ishmael. Thus, his sacrifice of Isaac would require a lot less faith and be less meaningful. Whatever the reason, the important lesson is God doesn’t explain why. 

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