Genesis 21 (NRSV)
The Birth of Isaac
The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised.
Sarah and Abraham had waited a very long time for this child—but God’s promise is sure!
2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Galatians 4:28 (New Living Translation)
And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac.
Another Isaac . . . Isaac Watts
a brief biography about Watts and his hymn writing.
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (based on Galatians 6:14)
Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book I, Chapter 2 “Take Now thy Son”).
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.”
11The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”
14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
Not easy to be Hagar. Brought out of her homeland in Egypt as a slave to foreigners, forced to have sex with her owner and bear his son, then tossed out of that wealthy family (given only a little bread and water) when the new baby came along. But God kept his eye on Hagar, and sent an angel to her — twice! — to assure her that she and her son were loved by God. Here in the wilderness she can say again, “You are the God who sees me.”
15When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.
17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”
19Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Be sure to find Sarah in each of these!
Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), 1657.
The Expulsion of Hagar, Claude Lorrain, 1668 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich).
Hagar by Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849)
Lone in the wilderness, her child and she,
Sits the dark beauty, and her fierce-eyed boy,
A heavy burden and no winsome toy
To such as she, a hanging babe must be;
A slave without a master–wild, nor free,
With anger in her heart! and in her face
Shame for foul wrong and undeserved disgrace.
Poor Hagar mourns her lost virginity!
Oh woman fear not–God is everywhere;
The silent tears, thy thirsty infant’s moan,
Are known to Him whose never-absent care
Still wakes to make all hearts and souls his own;
He sends an angel from beneath his throne
To cheer the outcast in the desert bare.
Abraham and Abimelech Make a Covenant
22At that time Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do; 23now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have resided as an alien.”
24And Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25When Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, 26Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.”
27So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. 28Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs of the flock. 29And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?”
30He said, “These seven ewe lambs you shall accept from my hand, in order that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.”
31Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath. 32When they had made a covenant at Beer-sheba, Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines.
33Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34And Abraham resided as an alien many days in the land of the Philistines.
Simple Secrets of the Kingdom
Study 9 – The Holy Spirit
Today’s study is on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s work is the power which brings the new birth in Christ, by which we experience the forgiveness of sin. The Spirit’s ministry continues the work of Jesus through the word of the Bible which the Spirit uses to convict, comfort, and clarify. Click here for AUDIO or VIDEO.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.