Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Part III - God's Ongoing Program Of Countering Man's Apostasy At Babel
K. Round Ten - Learning To PART With ALL Who Threaten To Come Between Us And God's Will
(Genesis 21:1-21)
  1. Introduction
    1. Generally speaking, the believer is bound to preserve the unity of the Holy Spirit in the Church, Eph. 4:3.
    2. However, there are times when parties that are close to us either in terms of family ties or even Church ties become so sinful that their influence threatens to obstruct the godly from achieving God's will!
    3. Genesis 21:1-21 teaches a revealing lesson for the believer in such situations in the life of faith as follows:
  2. Learning To PART With ALL Who Threaten To Come Between Us And God's Will, Genesis 21:1-21
    1. After Abraham and Sarah had errantly produced the son, Ishmael by the union of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah's maid, God ordered Hagar to stay in the household and submit to Sarah for a while, Gen. 16:1-16.
    2. However, an event occurred to CHANGE this first divine arrangement involving Hagar and Ishmael, requiring Abraham to send them away to protect the other householders' roles in God's will, Gen. 21:1-21:
      1. In keeping with His promise, God produced Isaac through Sarah, Genesis 21:1-2.
      2. Abraham and Sarah named him, and celebrated his weaning with a great feast, Genesis 21:3-8.
      3. However, on that festive occasion, Ishmael mocked Isaac, apparently seeing Isaac as a sure threat to his gaining the main inheritance from Abraham, Genesis 21:9 with Ryrie Study Bible, KJV ftn.
      4. This event was naturally threatening to Isaac's mother, Sarah, so she told Abraham to chase away Hagar and her son, Ishmael to preserve the family inheritance role for her son, Isaac, Genesis 21:9-10.
      5. Though this rift in the family was very troublesome to Abraham, God ordered him to heed Sarah's suggestion as it was the only way to give room for Isaac to fulfill God's will as follows:
        1. God intervened at Sarah's suggesting, telling Abraham not to be upset at her words, but to do as she had said in keeping with her understandably maternal concerns, Genesis 21:12.
        2. The reason for this suggestion becomes clear in viewing practical issues involved: (a) Isaac would have been 2 to 3 years old at this weaning feast (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Genesis 21:8) where Ishmael was in his mid-teens, cf. Genesis 17:25. This would have left Ishmael with a decided impressionable advantage over little Isaac to where he could have so emotionally abused him that Isaac might never have developed into a responsible adult. (b) As Galatians 4:29 reveals, Ishmael was intentionally direct ing his mockery against impressionable little Isaac to intimidate him in hopes that one day he could usurp Isaac's inheritance uncontested when Abraham and Sarah were too old to stop him! (b) Sarah's concern for Isaac's obtaining the inheritance was thus justified, and God sided with her defensive, maternal instincts regarding Isaac's welfare to tell Abraham to cast Ishmael out!
        3. God made it possible to send Ishmael off by promising to bless and make him survive as Ishmael was Abraham's seed and thus to a degree included in the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 21:13.
      6. Abraham submitted to God's leading, rising early the next day to send Hagar and Ishmael away, 21:14a.
      7. God moved to supply the needs of Hagar and Ishmael in fulfillment of the covenant while thus making room for Isaac's healthy development so he could also do God's will, Genesis 21:14b-21:
        1. Hagar at first wandered about in the desert, spending her water, and ended up placing her weakened son under a shrub thinking Ishmael would die, Genesis 21:14b-16.
        2. God intervened for the second time in Hagar's life in her son's behalf, encouraging her that He would make a bright future for him, and supplying a well of water for their survival, Genesis 21:17-19.
        3. God continued to bless Ishmael and Hagar in accord with His promises, Genesis 21:20-21.
Lesson: (1) In living by faith in God, if ANYONE -- even a fellow believer or family member -- comes between us and God's will FOR us, we must PART with that one to the DEGREE that we have ROOM to do God's will. (2) If WE do not have the power to pull back (as it was in Isaac's case), GOD will provide others around us to help achieve that status (In Isaac's case, it was his mother, Sarah!).

Application: Our obedience to God must NEVER be upstaged by even a family member or a carnal fellow believer! We must do whatever is necessary to PRESERVE our role in God's will for us!