Lord, today I present myself before You. What I seek, only You can give; what I ask, only You can provide.
Read Genesis 21:1–21
The Birth of Isaac
21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
- Genesis 21:3 Isaac means he laughs.
- Genesis 21:12 Or seed
- Genesis 21:16 Hebrew; Septuagint the child
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTo a large extent, childhood experiences make us who we are. What makes you more – or less – grateful about your childhood?
Abraham’s family was to become what we would now call a blended family. His son, Ishmael, was fourteen when his half-brother, Isaac, was born. You’ll remember Sarah’s insistence that Abraham should father a child by her slave, Hagar (Genesis 16) and the ensuing bitterness between the two women.
Isaac’s birth meant that Sarah could now call herself a mother while Abraham now had a legitimate son and heir whom he circumcised, as had now become the custom in Abraham’s family (17:23–27).
Motherhood for Sarah may have brought her great joy (6,7), but it did not diminish her resentment toward Hagar and Ishmael (10). Can you sense Abraham’s dilemma? How can he keep everyone happy? God’s solution appears to be cruel to Hagar, accompanied by a second-best blessing (13). This was all because Sarah, along with Abraham, had failed to trust God to fulfill His promise of a son to those who were ‘as good as dead’ (Hebrews 11:11,12). This was the outcome. But God had not deserted Hagar, nor her son. The first part of verse 20 makes this beautifully clear. God’s solution was full of promise.
Have you ever felt betrayed or let down? Have you ever felt that God failed you? Read this passage again and remind yourself that God sees you. He has not forgotten you. You can trust Him.
Patient One, I know I can be so impatient. I know I can only overcome this struggle through always trusting You. Infuse me with Your grace and power.
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