Sunday School Commentary and Preview 1- 9-22

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Greetings members and friends and welcome to another commentary and preview to this Sunday’s study of the Word.  This Sunday’s study text is entitled “Hagar And Ishmael Are Not Forgotten” and it is based on Genesis 21:8-21.  

Not everyone who has heard of Abraham in the bible may not have heard of Ishmael.  People may have heard of Isaac and Jacob, but not Ishmael.  On the other hand, there are people who call themselves and are called Arabs who know of Ishmael, but may not know Isaac and Jacob. 

This is because the two great religions of Christianity and Islam both trace their roots to Abraham.  They diverge with the first two sons of Abraham.  According to both religions, Abrahams first son was by his slave. 

The bible said Abraham’s wife insisted that he have a child by Hagar, their slave or servant, in order for Sarah to have a family through this child.  This practice was not uncommon.  Both of Jacob’s wives, Rachael and Leah, did something similar with their slave women. 

The bible said that Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to be his wife or better still to be understood as a concubine. Once Hagar was pregnant with Abraham’s child, she began to feel and behave beyond her status as a slave which incurred the wrath of Sarah.  She fled from Sarah but returned at the insistence of an angel to submit to Sarah’s authority and promises that God will take care of her son. 

Nearly 14 years later, Sarah bore her own son and named him Isaac.  Shortly after Isaac was weaned, Sarah saw something in the matter Ishmael interacted with Isaac and prompted her to insist that both Hagar and Ishmael be cast out of their family.  She did not want Ishmael to share in the inheritance Abraham would leave to his offspring. 

This request really disturbed Abraham and he didn’t want to do it.  But God again intervened and told Abraham to do as his wife has requested because I will fulfill the promises I have made to you through Isaac.  But because Ishmael is your son, God said he would take care of him and make a great nation from him. 

So, Abraham did as his wife asked and forced Hagar and Ishmael to leave after giving them some water and provisions.  Sometime after they were forced to leave, their water and provisions ran out.  They were both at the point of death when an angel responded to their cries of help. 

They were led to a well where they found the water they needed to survive.  Again, a promise was made to take care of Ishmael.  They remained in the wilderness where Ishmael became a hunter and archer and took a wife from the land of Egypt. 

Hagar and Ishmael are a result of the unwillingness of Sarah and Abraham to wait on the promise of God.  Abraham was 85 and Sarah was 75 and it looked to them that Sarah’s suggestion to have a son through Sarah’s slave woman was a reasonably way God would fulfill His promise.  After the deed was done, Sarah realized they had been presumptuous and should not have done what they did.  But then it was too late. 

This is a familiar story that plays out in most of our lives.  We try to help God out instead of being patient and waiting on Him to act.  Because of our impatience, we have and will make decisions we will later come to regret.  The song writer said “You can’t hurry God, you have to trust Him and give Him time, no matter our long it takes”. 

Even with this indiscretion, Abraham is still called the father of faith.  It was not his idea not to wait, but he shares in the blame because he yielded to the voice of his wife.  Yet he believed that God could fulfill His promise in Ishmael and is probably why he yielded to Sarah’s suggestion. 

Abraham loved Ishmael and asked God couldn’t Ishmael be the fulfillment of His promise.  But God told him not to worry about Ishmael because He would take care of him.  But His promise would be fulfilled in a son yet unborn and that son would be Isaac at the age of 100 and Sarah age 90. 

One final note.  Upon Abraham’s death, both of his sons Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury him. 

Well, again be sure to look over the study again and come prepared to offer your comments, questions and perspective on the meaning of the study.  If you can’t attend your own Sunday School class this Sunday, you can join us live and online at 9:00 am at and clicking the online services link

You can also join us live by dialing 508 924-2890.  If you have any comments or questions, be sure to place them in the comment section or you can share them on Sunday.  So, let’s all have a great lesson and discussion this Sunday and remember to fear God and keep His commandments.


Pastor Jordan