Day 19 - Ishmael and Isaac

Read: Genesis 21

THEME: There are some incidents in Abraham’s life that are hard to explain unless we see how God’s grace towards us can make us gracious towards others.

It was unwise of Abraham, even in the face of many years of childlessness, to take Hagar, the serving maid that Sarai presented to him, in the hope of hastening God’s plan for him to become the father of many nations. It led to 13 years of silence from heaven.

God then spoke to set things in motion for the arrival of Sarah’s son, Isaac. The tension between the two boys soon became evident and Abraham found himself in the midst of a dilemma. With so much past history, it was hard to have the two boys in the same house. Abraham could have resolved the situation harshly, seeking to remove the fruit of his impatience in order to preserve his reputation. But his reputation was not uppermost in his mind. He cried out to God for Ishmael and with the pain of separation once again staring him in the face, he took hold of the grace of God, knowing that the God who had been gracious to him years earlier when Lot had gone his own way would be gracious to him now.

In following God’s counsel, Abraham proved yet again that obedience and grace can go hand in hand. It is all too easy to resolve life’s problems in harshness whilst seeking to protect our reputations. Abraham found a better way. He never denied his responsibility but acknowledged the grace of God.

May we never put self-interest ahead of graciousness.