“The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Before we start throwing a stone at Sarai, you need to know that this is an ancient custom of the day to ensure the birth of an heir. Through time this actually gets written into the Hammurabi Code (The law of the land before God gave The Law). In order to unite all of southern Mesopotamia, the Babylonian king wrote a Code of Laws. We will see many of the laws sprinkled throughout the Bible as a “custom”. It is important to understand the culture of the time. All 282 codes, are “If….Then”. (some were pretty harsh!). We will talk about this more in February.
Also, when a woman was barren she considered herself “cursed”. She knew that God had a plan, however, if she was cursed and could not have children she would ‘help’ with the plan. (As if God needs help, Ha!)
Skipping to verse 7: I never noticed before God perused Hagar…not vice versa. I think I just assumed she cried out. (He is with us even when we are ignoring Him)
Pulling from yesterday’s post we can see this is a Theophany: The angel of the Lord.
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
Poor Ishmael, caught in the adult drama will live a nomadic life in Arabia but will be war-like. His descendants will be called the Ishmaelites, (See picture) but this large nation he will grow (specified in the next chapter) is never in conflict with Israel, nor are they subject to God’s judgment.
If you are keeping notes:
- Ishmael means “God Hears’
- El Roi- The God who sees me. (Hagar has the honor of “naming” the Lord for the first time”)
- Beer Lahai Roi- Tiffany, this is not a Pub! “The well of the Living One who sees me”
No image needed for Chapter 17! Thank Heavens!
Chapter 17: May I encourage you to grab a pen and circle how many times the word Covenant is used. God does put responsibility out there for this Everlasting Covenant. Abram and his descendants do not have a license to live as they please. Twelve years ago, a wise woman once said to me “You are called to be Holy, not to be happy”, and I say it in my head at least once a week…or once a day…if my sweet husband is on my nerves 😂
- then Covenant…..
- then Sign.
Here we are: Chapter 12-15-17
In my time studying and listening to podcasts on this topic I have heard lots of reasons as to why circumcision is the sign:
- the constant reminder of the cutting away of the old,
- applies to the making of male descendants so sexual activity must be disciplined and dedicated to procreation for God (read that twice if your name is Elliot or Charlie…my daughters!!),
- to be set apart (Holy), as they are called to enter a pagan land called Canaan
As always: I read this and God shows me something new that knocks my socks off!
13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised.
I have always seen the Gentiles (me and you) in God’s plan. But in my Bible today I stopped when I read this. Those that were bought…that’s me! Redeemed.
Abram gets a name change to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. Abraham means “the father of many nations’. “ha” or “ah” added to a name means “breath”. The breath of God is now on them! This is a new destiny, just like the day of your salvation. (so call me Patricaha!)
Chapter 18: Of these 3 visitors, one is clearly the Lord. (I am not sure if the other 2 create a or not 🤷♀️). Sarah, when told she will bear a child at her age doesn’t just “laugh”, she denies the possibility. I guess she hasn’t planned a date night in a while! In her defense, just like Adam and Eve, the conversation WAS between God and Abram, Sarai was not a witness to it.
God himself makes a personal inspection of the city. Abraham speaks boldly to God and asks if he will refrain from judging a whole nation if there are a few to be found righteous in the city. Can God find at least 10 righteous people?? Abraham’s Nephew, Lot, has been living there…surely he has missioned at least at least 10 right??