Friday, March 26, 2010

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 21

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapter 21. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

21:1-3 – “Miracles never cease.” See Exodus 15:11. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

21:2 – Yes, the elderly have sex.

It took 25 years to deliver Isaac as fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham. We need to “trust in God, lean on Him, recognize His voice, and follow His commands no matter how long it may take to accomplish His will.” (Explore the Bible, Winter 2007-2008, Genesis 1-27 – 17:1-2, 17-19)

21:6 – “God has bought me laughter” – double meaning: God brought her Isaac, who was called laughter and he brought Sarah joy as well. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

“There is a time to laugh.” See Psalms 30:11. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

It’s rather funny that Sarah and Abraham both laughed when they learned that they would have a son! The name Isaac means “laughter”.

21:8 – “…on the day he was weaned…” – of course Sarah was in a bad mood! (Loved by God – Higgs) Ishmael would have been 2-3 years old.

21:9 – notice the verse says “the son”, not “Sarah’s son”. Also, the reference to Hagar’s nationality is like a slur, offering another clue as to the strain in their relationship. “Borne to Abraham” is used, not “borne for Sarah,” which may indicate that Sarah played no role in Ishmael’s upbringing. Ishmael would have been 16 or 17 years old. Why would he be mocking Isaac rather than chasing girls? As evidenced later (21:15-18), Ishmael was a weak mama’s boy.

was Ishmael’s hostile behavior learned from watching his mother?

21:10 – Sarah didn’t speak Hagar’s or Ishmael’s names when petitioning Abraham to send them away, indicating further diminishment in relationship.

21:12 – God takes Sarah’s side by telling Abraham to do as she says and not worry about Hagar and Ishmael. Abraham wasn’t as concerned about them earlier in scripture (see 16:6). Is this a glimpse into the male psyche? Are men truly visual and tactile beings? Things they can see and touch are more real so they matter more. Is faith so much harder for them as well?

21:12-13 – God mentions Isaac by name, but calls Ishmael “the son of the maidservant.” This would be an indication of Ishmael’s lesser position.

21:15 – He was 16 or 17. How could she “put” him anywhere? He was a mama’s boy.

21:16 – How far is a bowshot?

21:17 – God heard the boy – “A pun on the name Ishmael” (NIVSB) which means “God hears.”

“What is the matter, Hagar?” – of course God knew what was happening. He was giving her an opportunity to confess her failures, fears, faithlessness, etc.

“We have a Hero who hears.” See Psalm 107:8-9. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

21:17-18 – God as a divine parent.

21:18 – great nation – God expands the previous vision (see 16:10).

21:19 – “Lord, open our eyes that we may see.” See Jeremiah 32:17. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

21:20 – God was with Ishmael – his descendants are at war with Israel (and us). What happened? Did they turn their backs on God? This marks his transformation from mama’s boy to “wild donkey of a man.” (See 16:12)

21:22-27 – Abimelech is entering into a covenant with Abraham.

21:23 – Abimelech had reason to be suspicious of Abraham because of their past dealings involving Sarah (see chapter 20).

21:33 – Eternal God – El Olam.

What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

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