Simply the Bible Blog

Daily Devotion and Podcast

Genesis 21:1-21 “Isaac Arrives, Ishmael Departs”

“And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken.”

Genesis 21:1 (NKJV)

It is a beautiful thing when a promise is fulfilled. Perhaps this is because few things in life are absolutely certain. But when God says something, He will surely bring it to pass. And He made good on His promise to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90! Is anything too hard for God? But receiving the gift of Isaac required Abraham and Sarah to believe God despite all evidence to the contrary. And every good and every perfect gift only comes by faith.

But immediately there was trouble in paradise. Ishmael was 14 years old when Isaac was born, and he was probably 17 when Isaac was weaned. The spotlight was now on Isaac and Ishmael was jealous. Sarah saw him scoffing at her child, so she told Abraham to cast out Hagar and her son, for Ishmael would not share the inheritance with Isaac.

This matter greatly grieved Abraham because he loved Ishmael. But God told him to listen to Sarah because it would be Isaac’s descendants whom God would choose. Moreover, the Promised Seed who would crush the serpent’s head would come through him.

But there was a deeper meaning to all of this. In Galatians 4, the apostle Paul tells us that Ishmael represents the way of the flesh and Isaac the way of the Spirit. Those who walk in the flesh and according to nature will always persecute those who walk in the Spirit and according to faith in God’s promises. Before we were born again, we had no internal conflict. Our flesh was the center of attention, and we catered to it. But when we believed in Jesus Christ our spirit came to life and we become children of the promise. Suddenly we experienced the inner conflict between the old nature of the flesh and the new nature of the Spirit.

We all have this inner struggle between the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17). Where are you prone to operate according to your flesh? Where have you learned to walk in the Spirit by faith in the word of God?

Listen to the complete podcast

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

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