Sovereign Lord, on this President’s Day, I pray for wisdom, strength and courage for our new President.
Read Genesis 17:15–27
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Regarding Sarai your wife… her name will be ‘Sarah’ (‘Princess’)… I will bless her… I will bless her” (Gen. 17:15,16, TLB).
In what was undoubtedly a patriarchal world, it is good to see that God includes Sarai in his blessing, even changing her name to “Princess.” The marriage union should always be a partnership between husband and wife. God makes it quite clear that he would bless Sarah with a son and she would be the means of blessing Abraham (16). In his disbelief at the incongruity that he and Sarah could have a son so late in life, Abraham suggests a means that bypasses their incapacity (18). However, in proposing that Ishmael be the son of the promise, Abraham, probably unwittingly, excludes Sarah from the blessing. Indeed, Sarah herself had done a similar thing when she suggested giving her maid, Hagar, to Abraham in order to have a son (Gen. 16:1,2). Even sincere people of God who are actively serving him may sometimes, without realizing it, exclude their spouses, those close to them or even themselves from God’s blessing. God will not let Sarah be passed over, however, and reiterates twice that Sarah will bear a son (19,21). At the same time, God does not ignore Ishmael: his answer to Abraham (20) may even be taken as a slight tongue-in-cheek rebuke: “Ishmael” means “God hears” in Hebrew, so God says, “Concerning ‘God hears,’ I have heard you!” Abraham’s family was complex and things had happened that probably should not have happened. Complex families do not confound God, however, and God can work in and through them. Ishmael was not the intended son of his promise, but God, in his graciousness, extended his blessing to Ishmael and his descendants. It is worth noting, too, that God also explicitly includes Abraham’s servants as part of the covenant (13). Whether master, mistress, son or slave, God hears.
Consider this: are you knowingly, or unthinkingly, cutting out someone from God’s blessing?
Father, I thank You for Your blessing and for the approval, the encouragement it brings. I long to experience the fullness of Your blessing.