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Category Archives: Genesis

Cast Out The Bondwoman And Her Son

“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” (Genesis 21:9-10)

In Genesis 21:6, we are told that Sarah laughed for joy at the birth of her son Isaac. The grace and gifts of God bring joy and laughter to the grateful hearts of those who believe God and gladly receive what He has given them. But in verse 9, we see a different kind of laughter. This laughter is the laughter of mockery; it is the laughter of disdain for what God has done in the lives of those who believe Him coming from the mouths of those who do not. It is the ridicule that comes from the heart which has only known the fruits of its own efforts and never the gracious fruits that come from God alone. This is the contempt which the man who lives in the flesh holds for the man who walks after the Spirit of God.

Before this particular incident, we have not been told very much about the nature and character of the young man Ishmael, whom Abraham became the father of by Hagar the servant woman. But this solitary verse truly speaks volumes. He complied with his father’s wishes and became circumcised a few years before this (Genesis 17:26) in accordance with the command of God. He went through the motions of religious observance, paying lip-service to the commandments of God, yet we see now that his heart was far from Him. The unrepentant, unregenerate man will very often perform the ceremonies and rituals which he feels make him appear to be religious; yet when he is confronted with the genuineness of God’s unmerited grace, he scoffs at it and mocks the one who receives it.

The man of the flesh seeks to come to God through his own efforts. He has no realization, no concept of the unearned grace which alone can serve as the force which makes a person acceptable to God. Ishmael looked upon the birth of Isaac as something foolish and disdainful much as those who reject Christ see the Cross as something foolish and meaningless (1 Corinthians 1:18). Both will revere and regard their own efforts and their own self-perceived merits as something of great importance, all the while mocking and ridiculing the grace of God which alone has the power to save.

Upon witnessing the spectacle that Ishmael is putting on during what should be a very joyous occasion, Sarah demands that Abraham send away the young man and his mother. This slave woman’s son shall not be heir with my son! she proclaims. So the enmity between Ishmael and Isaac, between Sarah and Hagar, precludes any accommodation between the two families. They simply cannot peacefully co-exist. The Apostle Paul will use this whole incident as an illustration of the incompatibility between living under Law and living under Grace (Galatians 4:21-31). These two are wholly irreconcilable as well. One must choose whether they will live under Law or live under Grace.

“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” (Galatians 4:30)

In light of this clear imperative, it is puzzling that there are those who name the name of Christ who claim to live under Grace yet still attempt to fulfill the works of Law. Often, such claim that God provides Grace but still expects us to live under Law. Whether it be some observance of Old Testament dietary regulations or the keeping of Sabbath days, they claim that the Christian is in essence under a mixture of Law and Grace. But we see that Ishmael was cast out completely; he did not remain close by, he did not pay occasional visits to the family. Ishmael, representing the Law, was entirely put away once the son of Grace, the heir of promise came. There was no room for both within the household of Abraham, neither is there room for both in the household of God. The Law has served its purpose in the plans of God (Galatians 3:24-25), it holds no place anymore for those who have received the Son of Promise, Jesus Christ. The self-effort of ritual, religious motion, and attempted observance of Law will never make anyone acceptable to God, nor can it ever bring Salvation. Let us cast out the son of the bondwoman and place our faith firmly in God’s Grace, lest we, too, be found mocking.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published February 17, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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Seeing Jesus In The Life Of Isaac – Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at six parallels between the lives of Isaac and the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we will consider four more:

Obedient Unto Death

Both Isaac and Jesus submitted to the will of their Fathers, even to the point of their own deaths:

“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” (Genesis 22:9)

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

Heirs Of All Things

Both Isaac and Jesus were Heirs of all things that their Fathers possessed:

“And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” (Genesis 25:5)

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:2)

Bridegrooms Who Loved Their Brides

Both Isaac and Jesus were presented with brides whom they loved:

“But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac…And Isaac brought her into his mother’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her…” (Genesis 24:4, 67 a)

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25)

Both Were Made Alive From That Which Was Dead

Isaac’s birth is an illustration of resurrection, that is, life coming from death:

“And being not weak in faith, [Abraham] considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:” (Romans 4:19)

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)

These are just ten of the major similarities between the life of Isaac and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will notice more of them as we go into the life of Isaac in more detail.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published February 16, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Seeing Jesus In The Life Of Isaac – Part 1

As we come in our study of Genesis to the birth of Isaac, it is worth considering the great parallels between the life of Isaac and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today and tomorrow we will look at some of them:

Sons Of Promise

First of all, both the birth of Isaac and the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ had been promised beforehand by God:

“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.” (Genesis 18:10)

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Announcements Were Questioned By Their Mothers

Both Isaac and Jesus were announced beforehand by God to their mothers, both of who at first questioned how their births could be possible:

“Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Genesis 18:12)

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34)

Miraculous Births

Both Isaac and Jesus were born miraculously in ways that were seemingly impossible:

“Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” (Genesis 18:11)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)

Born At The Appointed Time Of God

Isaac and Jesus were both born at a preset time ordered by God Himself:

“For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:2)

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4)

Named Before Their Births By God

Isaac and Jesus both were given their names by God before they were ever born:

“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” (Genesis 17:19)

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Beloved By Their Fathers

Both Isaac and Jesus are said to have been loved by their Fathers:

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2)

“For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5:20)

This in itself might not seem very significant until we consider that no parent in the Bible is said to have “loved” their child before Genesis 22:2 tells us that Abraham loved Isaac. In fact, the word “love” does not even appear in the Bible at all before this verse. It is, therefore, noteworthy that we are told specifically of Abraham’s affection toward Isaac.

Tomorrow we will look at more of the parallels between the life of Isaac and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published February 15, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

God Is Reliable

“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.” (Genesis 21:1)

Genesis 21:1 is a remarkable verse of Scripture. Two statements immediately jump out of the text:

“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.” (emphasis added)

What a profound lesson in God’s reliability! God did exactly what He said He would do. Not only that, He did it at the precise time that He had set (v.2). All the way back in Genesis 13:16 God first made the promise that Abraham would have descendants as numerous as the dust of the Earth. Abraham did not even have one single child at the time, but God made this promise to him as if it was already a done deal (Romans 4:17). Despite Abraham and Sarah’s deception with Pharaoh and Abimilech in which Sarah’s purity could have been compromised (Gen. 12:13, 20:2), despite their scheme to bring about the child of promise from the womb of another (Gen. 16), despite Sarah’s laughter at the very notion that she could bring forth a child in her old age (18:12), God visited Sarah as He had said, and did unto her as He had spoken.

Regardless of how things may look to us, God will make good on every promise that He has ever made. He will do what He has said He will do.  No one is able to frustrate the plans of God, nor can anyone prevent His promises from coming to pass. God is reliable.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published February 12, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Letting Go Of The Backup Plans

“And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” (Genesis 20:13)

In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave the land in which he lived and go to the place that He would show him. We looked at the fact before that Abraham decided to bring Lot, his nephew, along even though God had told him to leave his kindred behind. Now, in Chapter 20, we see another area where Abraham was reluctant to put his entire trust in what God had told him. By his own admission, Abraham had conspired with Sarah to deceive those who lived in the lands wherein God would lead them by telling them that Sarah was merely his sister, not his wife.

“Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” (Genesis 20:11)

When confronted by the King of Gerar, Abraham offers up these words as his reasoning: I assumed that you were all a bunch of lawless, wicked heathens who would  kill me so you could have my wife. His concern was that a reverence for God was not in that place and that the people of that land would act according to their basest desires. Abimilech did prove to be a man of integrity (v.5-6), but even if he had not been, Abraham was wrong to use deception in order to protect himself. Even if the fear of God had been absent from the hearts of the people of Gerar, God Himself was able to protect Abraham and his wife. God is not dependent on the behavior and actions of others in order to bring His plans to fruition. Even if others are disobedient to the Lord and wish His people harm, this does not make Him unable to protect and defend His own. God may not be honored and respected in the places where we go, but we can be assured that He is in the particular spot where we stand. Even if God’s manifest presence is not already in a place, we know that He is once we arrive, if we have brought Him with us.

Abraham relied on a number of “backup plans” in his walk with God. Without a doubt, this great man of faith trusted God in a way that we can only hope to emulate. Yet we know that his faith grew over time as God stripped away more and more of these backup plans to the point that he had nothing else on which to rely but God Himself. Abraham’s faith in God would reach the point that when his son Isaac asked him as they climbed Mt. Moriah where the lamb was for the sacrifice, his response was: “God will provide Himself a Lamb” (Genesis 22:8). Abraham had attempted to use a backup plan to bring about the birth of a promised son, he had used a backup plan to ensure his safety in the lands through which he traveled, but when it came time to obey the Word of God and offer up his own son, he and Isaac went to the place of sacrifice alone. This incident in Gerar was a turning point in the life of Abraham after which he would trust in God’s provision alone.

And what of our own lives? Is our faith so deeply invested in the providence of God that, should He fail to deliver on His promises, we would have no other recourse? Or have we built a network of our own backup plans on which we rest comfortably should the power of God “fail?” Are we relying on Him or are we relying on our own resources, skills, and ingenuity? If so, we know that God will bring it to the surface, just as He did with Abraham. Will we put our faith in Him or in ourselves?

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published February 11, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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