Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Now THAT'S Extreme Sibling Rivalry!

Ishmael & Isaac had the same father--Abraham.  You can read their stories in Genesis 15-21.  God made a promise to Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) that his descendants would be a many as the stars in the heavens.  And Abram believed.

But it didn't happen immediately...or maybe for years!  So Sarai, Abram's wife, (before her name was changed to Sarah) took matters into her own hands.  She gave her bondmaid or slave, Hagar, to Abram so she could bear a descendant for them.  I've heard it was the custom in those days that if you gave your slave as a concubine to your husband and "caught" the baby as it was born, it became your child.  So in essence, Sarai was suggesting an adoption of sorts.  But it was man's plan....or rather, a woman's plan.  And it was a plan of flesh.  When Hagar became pregnant, she was filled with contempt for Sarai and began taunting her and making her life miserable.  JEALOUSY was born.  Hagar, the slave, got pregnant easily while Sarai, the cherished wife, couldn't get pregnant at all.  Sarai insisted that Abram DO something and he gave Sarai freedom to do what she wanted.  So Sarai sent Hagar away--into the wilderness.  God met Hagar there and told her to go back and to humbly submit to Sarai.  He also told her she was going to have a son...a son "whose hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him."  She did go back and later had her son--Ishmael!

God comes to Abram later and makes a covenant with him and changes his name to Abraham (the "breath of God" added to his name).  In that covenant, God reminds Abraham that he's going to give him the son he promised.  Abraham laughs at the thought of giving birth to a son when he's 99-years-old, and says, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"   He's trying to convince God to allow the promise to come through Ishmael.  But Ishmael was born according to the flesh and represents the Law. Galatians 4.  God had a different plan (which was His original plan) and was promising a son named Isaac who would be born in fulfillment of the promise and through whom Christ would come.

And it happened...just as God promised.  Then Sarah saw Ishmael mocking a young Isaac one day and she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be cast out!  It grieved Abraham but God came to him and agreed that they should be turned away.  He reiterated that Isaac was the son of promise. Abraham gave Hagar and Ishmael bread and water and sent them away.  They got lost in their wanderings and ran out of water.  Hagar told the young man, Ishmael, to lay under a bush and she went a ways off (so she wouldn't see him die) and cried.  I'm sure anger was burning in Ishmael at the unfairness of it all.  God met Hagar there and promised her a great nation would be made of Ishmael.

And it was.  Islam was birthed through Ishmael.  And Christianity was birthed through Isaac.  Which explains why there is such great hatred in the hearts of Muslims for Christians.  They are in a "holy war" to kill all Jews & Christians.  It's sibling rivalry to the extreme which has been carried out for generations and generations...and is only intensifying.

*If you want to know more about what's going on in this modern-day rivalry, I encourage you to follow Joel C. Rosenberg's blog here.  He's a Messianic Jew (Jew who's become a Christian) and has served in governmental capacities in the U.S. and Israel and has a pulse on what's happening in our world politically and spiritually.  He's written lots of books, most of them fiction, which outline this battle between Islam and Jews/Christians and makes it understandable for lay people like me.  I'm reading his newest book, The Third Target, and I highly recommend all Christians read it.  I also encourage you to follow what Franklin Graham is saying about Islam vs. Christianity.  It's time for Christians to become informed and involved.  I encourage you to contact the President of the United States (here) and let him know we have a moral obligation to protect Christians in other nations and to align ourselves with Israel wholeheartedly.  And pray.  Please pray!

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