Read Genesis 21:1-21
“That woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
Strange how things change. Sarah claimed Ishmael as her own when he was born, but no more.
Turns out that doesn’t work. Now there is a miracle child, and suddenly Ishmael’s very existence shames and angers Sarah.
She doesn’t need him anymore.
“Early the next morning, Abraham took some food and a skin of water and … set them on [Hagar’s] shoulders.” This is such an intimate, sad, little domestic scene. No servants – Abraham himself loads Hagar up with food and water. It’s very tender, like a mother putting a backpack on her child – except that he is sending them out forever.
It’s not easy for him. He’s ‘greatly distressed’ about sending away his first born, much loved son and his mother. But God has said that Ishmael will survive and thrive. “I will make the son of the slave into a nation also.” If there is anything Abraham knows for sure, it’s that God does what He says.
He has daily, living, proof of it in Isaac.
So now, heavy hearted, he sends them off: obeying God as always.
Poor Hagar, “She wandered in the Desert,” – as though all is lost. She has no plan, no people, and no resources. She is abandoned, destitute, and desperately afraid for her boy.
She gives up.
But, “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven,” – which apparently is nearby – and reminds her of his promise about Ishmael.
God has never abandoned them.
Now, he opens her eyes (I love that) and she sees what she did not see before (was it even there before?) – a well, ‘full of water’ (NLT).
“And God was with the boy as he grew up…”
“Send them away,” turned into, ‘Give them to me.’ God will care for and bless Ishmael, even though he was born through human fear and doubt.
But Isaac is the promised one.
The nation that will bless the whole world is going to come from Isaac.
It’s easy to forget, as we read the small stories, that they are part of the Big Story and that God is always doing way more than we see.
It’s easy to forget the dragon, and that God is planning a rescue.
To do it, he needs a miracle child.