Genesis 21:8–21 – The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Summary and Insight – There are several beautiful and powerful themes in this passage: a father’s sacrificing his son, a man asked to give everything, God testing of His people, faith in life and the resurrection, and the substitution of one sacrifice for another. The main focus of the author’s conclusion here is timing. God loves to put together a plan that tests and strengthens the faith of His people by timing. James tells us that trials produce patience in us. It was not until the very moment the angel’s voice stayed Abraham’s knife on the mountain that the entangled ram caught his peripheral vision. Do you love ninth-inning grand-slams and last-minute victories? This is something of the image of God in you. And it’s often how God works His will in the world for our good and His glory. When you are in the midst of a trial and it does not occur to you how God will see you through, take heart; wait on the Lord and hope in His deliverance. Hear this and be encouraged: On the mount it shall be provided.
Discussion – There is a great dejavu line, where Abraham lifts up his eyes – can you find both of them and notice the redemptive pattern? How many days did this test take? Why is this number significant? Take the time to think back over the last few years. How many times can you remember when God provided for you “on the mount”, at the fullness of time? Perhaps you can spend some time as a family sharing these with each other – what a wonderful narrative treasure for parents to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are sovereign and good. We praise You for the way You provide for and deliver us, Your people. Give us a mighty faith to wait on You and trust in You through Your times of testing. Teach us to fear You faithfully like our father Abraham. Thank You for the final deliverance You have already granted us in Christ Jesus, Who was both, Your slain Son and the Ram Who replaced us on the mount. For it is in His strong name we pray and give thanks, Amen.
Submitted by Pastor Ben Rossell