As he had said, as he had promised

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11th Jan, 2020 Day 11

Genesis 21

As he said, as he promised

Finally Sarah has a baby. Isaac is born as God has said, as God has promised and at the time God said. When God promises us something, we can rely on Him delivering. God is always faithful to His word – even though there may be for us what seems to be significant delay. God delivers on time!

Isaac is what is known as a type of Christ – he points to the coming Jesus

  • Specially promised sons
  • Miraculous conceptions (Isaac way past childbearing age, Jesus immaculate conception)
  • Born after delay
  • Both mothers were given assurance by truth of God’s omnipotence (Genesis 18:13-14; Luke 1:34, 37).
  • Both were given names rich with meaning before they were born.
  • Both births occurred at God’s appointed time (Genesis 21:2; Galatians 4:4).
  • Both births were accompanied by great joy (Genesis 21:6; Luke 1:46-47; 2:10-11).

Sarah can laugh with the joy of the faith rather than a cynical laugh. It’s not long before Hagar and Ishmael are giving a mocking laugh though. Sarah wants them gone, so God speaks of how that should happen. Ishmael may not be the child of promise, but he will become a nation and God will protect him.

They go carrying some water, which quickly runs out. Hagar puts Ishmael under a tree expecting him to die of thirst quickly.  Spurgeon wrote of this figuratively “Behold the compassion of a mother for her child expiring with thirst, and remember that such a compassion ought all Christians to feel towards souls that are perishing for lack of Christ, perishing eternally, perishing without hope of salvation.”

In v19 God opens her eyes, so that she can see a well of water. It’s either a miracle of seeing the well or of God creating it so she can see it. Spurgeon again explaining the likeness between Hagar and the one who needs God: “As in Hagar’s case, the supply of their necessities is close at hand: the well is near. Secondly, it often happens that that supply is as much there as if it had been provided for them and for them only, as this well seemed to have been. And, thirdly, no great exertion is needed to procure from the supply already made by God all that we want. She filled her bottle with water — a joyful task to her; and she gave the lad drink.”

Meanwhile Abimelech can see the hand of the Lord on Abraham – that’s the most amazing thing that we carry with us – the presence of God in the indwelling Spirit of God who is a river of life bubbling up within (John 7:37-39 fulfilling Ezekiel 47) –  “I think that the greatest blessing God ever gives to a man is his own presence. If I had my choice of all the blessings of this life, I certainly should not ask for wealth, for that can bring no ease; and I certainly should not ask for popularity, for there is no rest to the man upon whose words men constantly wait, and it is a hard task one has to perform in such a case as that; but I should choose, as my highest honor, to have God always with me.” (Spurgeon)

So Abimelech wants a no-hostility treaty made up between the two of them. Canaan has no significant rivers and is reliant on rain and wells for water supply. Abimelech’s servants grab a well – but Abraham rightly is having none of it. Abraham rebukes Abimelech and again makes a deal to keep the well in return for 7 ewes. Abraham understood his own property rights, but he was not greedy or miserly. Abimelech’s accepting the 7 sheep was a  recognition that Abraham had dug this well and therefore owned it.

Beersheba (well of seven or well of oath) becomes a strategic part of Israel from then on. Abraham’s son Isaac dug this well again, and he built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33). Abraham’s grandson Jacob stopped in Beersheba as he left the promised land (Genesis 28:10–15, 46:1–7). It was fortified in Saul’s time (I Samuel 14:48, 15:2–9) and Elijah found refuge there (1 Kings 19:3)

God speaks, God promises, God provides, God Cares. Praise God!

Andy Moyle