Genesis 21:10 “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
One of the most comforting things I have found in the Bible as of late is the truth that God used imperfect people and made them examples for us. Other religions at times paint a perfect picture and tell you to somehow struggle through the attempt at perfection. But not the Bible! I mean, these people had DRAMA! There was a terrible scandal that arose in the Abraham house, and poor Ishmael is right in the middle of the drama…
Sarai, as her original name was, was an old woman given a promise of a new thing; a child. That is extremely hard to shout over when you consider your natural inhibitions and the fear of how you would be able to do this. Sarai decided that it would be best to help God and do a little rearranging on the promise. She decided to tell her hand maiden, Hagar, to have relations with her husband, (I know), so that they could be partakers of a surrogate promise of God. That in itself is a word for someone who feels that what God said is not what He meant. If God gives a vision and/or a promise, He will always give the provision and the follow through. Who has EVER been God’s helper?
Nevertheless, Sarai tried to help, and sure enough Hagar was pregnant. The child grew and 14 years after the child was born, Sarai got pregnant. Uh oh! Two promises? Or was this just a promise and a mistake? In her normal way, Sarai decided to assist God with the mix up and told her husband, “I am the woman of this house and I am not raising my son with hers. I want them gone NOW!” And just like that, Ishmael and Hagar were displaced.
Father’s Day is not always a happy time for everyone. Perhaps you are the product of a broken home, absent father, or bitter mother. Ishmael is said to have been placed under a bush and he wept as his mother contemplated their next steps. There, in Genesis 21:17 we find a word for those who have a hard time with this holiday, as Ishmael might have. God told Hagar to lift the boy up and to take him by the hand. He assured her that He would make her son a great nation. In spite of what happened before the displacement, in spite of the father who would not be there, Ishmael was in the very forefront of God’s heart, and He alone would ensure that he lived. You are not a mistake. Your parents may have made mistakes to get you here, but YOU are not a mistake, and God can take your life and make it greater than even they could have imagined for you. Rise from the bushes of shame. Wipe your eyes, beloved. God is about to change your shame in to glory!
Cleo Dailey, III is a minister, freelance writer, and author who has written for several city and nation-wide publications. He is currently studying to obtain a degree in both English and Clinical Psychology in Peoria, IL.