Genesis 16, 17, 21, 25; 1 Chronicles 1; Romans 9:7-9; Galatians 4:21-31
Abraham releases Ishmael
Abraham and Sarah had no children. Sarah fell back on the custom of giving her slave girl Hagar. The plan did not work. The child Ishmael would become the brunt of much resentment.
Abraham had good intentions when he fathered Ishmael. He needed an heir; none was forthcoming, since Sarah was barren. Hagar could be a segregate he reasoned. After all, the Lord had made a promise to Abraham, but He was being slow in fulfilling that promise. Maybe God was not keeping His promise, so thought Sarah. Sarah would solve the problem of her bareness by herself, “Go, sleep with my maidservant!”
Abraham wanted a quick solution to his problem. It didn't work. We can come with our own agendas, plans and ideas. They may or they may not be in keeping with God’s perfect plans for our lives. Sadly, our best intentions and efforts aren't ever good enough to save us. Knowing we are helpless before God can be quite humiliating and humbling. We want to be in control. We will do just about anything to avoid having to depend on someone else. We would much prefer to have it our way. But this is the not the right way of coming before God. Reconciliation will only happen when we trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Lord Jesus Christ, before whom all in heaven and earth shall bow, grant courage that Your children may confess Your saving name in the face of any opposition from a world hostile to the Gospel. Help them to remember Your faithful people who sacrificed much and even faced death rather than dishonor You when called upon to deny the faith. By Your Spirit, strengthen them to be faithful and to confess You boldly, knowing that You will confess Your own before the Father in heaven, with whom You and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, now and forever.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELSCollect for persecuted Christians, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis