Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Genesis 17:17-20 (21.10.22)

Genesis 17:17-20 (NIVUK)
17 Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’ 18 And Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!’
19 Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

A tender side is revealed to Abraham here, after the manipulative side shown previously. He may have used Hagar simply to get an heir, and then cast her aside, but when God reaffirms that he will have a child through his wife Sarah, and that this is he will establish his covenant with, Abraham doesn’t simply cast off Ishmael too. Instead he prays that God would bless him too. We don’t know what God’s plans had been, but he response to Abraham’s pleas positively. Just as there will be 12 tribes from Jacob, Abraham’s son to be, so Ishmael will also give birth to twelve leaders and become a great nation. This reveals something of Abraham’s heart, his love of family. Maybe it also shows us something of God’s heart too. He is just and doesn’t show favouritism. He might chose Jacob and his family for his work, but this doesn’t mean he thinks any less of Ishmael and his. A reminder that he loves all, in and outside of the church, those of faith and those without.

Soften our hearts that we might show this same love to family and stranger.

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