Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us today. Of course the talk today is about hurricane, but I just wanted to, it reminds me of a passage in the Bible in 1 Kings 19. This is about Elijah, right? God says, go stand on the mountain and at attention before God, God will pass by. A hurricane ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind. After the wind, an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, fire, but God wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire, a gentle and quiet whisper.
11 Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
So I just got a text saying there was an earthquake. Yeah, so we’re waiting for fire to come up. But God says, pay attention in all of this in our lives. Sometimes there is hurricane. Sometimes there’s a storm. Sometimes there’s loud things that happen, but God speaks to us in a gentle and quiet whisper. And you wonder why, why does God do that? And you know, at least a couple of, we know why, when do you whisper? Right? So God wants us to come to us in a whisper. Sometimes He doesn’t come to us in these loud things, but He says, God speaks to us in a whisper.
Sometimes when you’re in love, you speak to each other in whisper. Sometimes when you want to have a secret conversation, you wink and you whisper. And God says, sometimes I think you and I, we are looking for something loud, but we miss on something small. And God says, I speak to you in a secret voice personally, right? Because you’re My loving child. And perhaps God is telling us to not miss God’s whispers in our lives. And we’re looking for a lot of these loud things, but God speaks to us.
As we study the Bible too, I think it works the same. Oftentimes we notice the things, but maybe God has a whisper. He wants to speak to us, the Holy Spirit teaching us what this is really all about. So we are, it’s been a while, right? I didn’t get to do, so we kind of forgot everything, but we are on Genesis 21. And once again, just a reminder, how do we read the Bible? Why do I kind of, why do we go through this? And just a couple of kind of bringing us why we do what we do.
First, the Bible says, Jesus said in John 5, the Bible talks about Me, Old Testament, New Testament. So our, what are we looking at? The whisper we want to find in the Bible is the story of Jesus. Amen. And Jesus says there is a veil if you don’t read the Bible without Jesus, the Old Testament. Specifically, Jesus says, Old Testament is speaking about Me. And if you want to understand Old Testament, you need Christ Jesus to understand it. So that’s kind of our focus. Once again, finding Jesus in the midst of the text.
As we read Genesis 21, I thought I asked my family, do you want to read this? It just takes so long. But the consensus was we should read it. So we won’t take too much time. There’s 34 verses, but I have appointed my family. So Sarah, Pauline, and Josh to read loudly if you can. So I will save time. But if you can follow along Genesis 21, turn your Bibles to Genesis 21 and follow along the passage.
1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 Sarah said, God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. 7 And she added, Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age. 8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that womans son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac. 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring. 14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, I cannot watch the boy die. And as she sat there, she began to sob. 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation. 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt. 22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you. 24 Abraham said, I swear it. 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimeleks servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, I dont know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today. 27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves? 30 He replied, Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well. 31 So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there. 32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. (Gen 21)
So let’s focus once again as we read this, the Bible is about Jesus and God’s redemptive history of salvation through Jesus Christ. And it’s very tempting for us when we read the Old Testament specifically to find certain moral lessons and say, hey, there’s these lessons like Aesop’s fable and you should follow this and apply it. But that’s not how we should read the Bible because the Bible is actually about Jesus and God’s redemptive story.
And that’s what I wanted to just point out again. If we can understand this Genesis 21 properly, spiritually, the other books and chapters that actually describe what this is all about is in the Bible. And that’s found in Romans 4, the next few chapters, and Galatians 2 and 3 that describes the specific Genesis 21. So that must mean Genesis 21 must be very important, right? Because we kind of read it, hey, Abram had Isaac, Ishmael got kicked out. So that’s what happens on the superficial surface, but there’s a deep spiritual meaning.
And for us to understand the meaning of this chapter, we actually have to understand other and read and understand other chapters as well, Romans 4 and on, and Galatians 3. And I’ll just bring in those pieces for us to understand this chapter correctly.
Now, just textually in this text, this chapter, there’s kind of three things that happen. One is that Isaac is born, finally, right, after 25 years of promising. Finally, chapter 21 starts with Genesis 12, the call of Abraham, and finally Isaac is born. That’s the first part.
Second is that Hagar and Ishmael are sent away, right? Kicked out here, but God still takes care of Hagar and Ishmael, right? Remember, earlier on, they were going to leave, right? And God says, don’t do that. So they actually go back. But now God says, it’s time to go, right? So he gets cast out, and in some sense, I don’t know, it seems like Hagar is very spiritual. God loves Hagar. God loves Ishmael. God actually speaks to her from heaven, right? So God takes care of Hagar and Ishmael, and I think it’s important for us not to have too much… I have a lot of bias towards Hagar and Ishmael generally, so I think, ah, you know, I ignore that. But text, clearly, God takes care of them, even though they are kind of kicked out of Abraham and Isaac’s presence.
Third part is this weird covenant with Abimelech, and that’s how this chapter is divided. There’s a lot to probably speak, but I just narrowed to three main points from Genesis 21. The first point, and keep me accountable so that I don’t go off-side track. First point will be, main point will be about the significance, or spiritual significance of Isaac being born. The second will be about God’s ability or God’s protection of Abraham. The third point will be about the protection of his seed. That’s the second point. And the third point will be about three nations that are at birth, actually, in Genesis 21. Those are the three main points here.
So, first point is the spiritual significance of Genesis 21, where Isaac is finally born, 25 years. Question is, why was Isaac delayed for so long? I mean, can you imagine God promises you something, and it’s just not happening? So, God calls him at 75, and now Abraham is 100, and finally God gives Isaac to him.
So, Romans 4 actually says that at this point, we should technically call Abraham dead. He’s a dead man. So, what happens is that God waited for this long for him to die, basically. For 25 years, what’s happening? Abraham is dead, and Sarah was barren. And that’s what God was waiting for, for 25 years, for God to do his promise.
And so, when Isaac was born, the Bible says he was born as a result of a promise that was given to him earlier. Now, this promise, the whole setup, is to tell us a message, as written in John 1. And of course, Isaac is a prototype, a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
In John 1, it says that Jesus, well, Isaac was born as, in this case, Isaac was born as a result of God’s word, God’s promise. In fact, Isaac was born similar to where God’s word became flesh in real life for Abraham. And as Isaac is a foreshadowing and a prototype and a pointer of Jesus to come, the true promised son that will be Jesus Christ.
Now, spiritually speaking, this birth of Isaac is also representing our second birth, or spiritual birth that happens, born from above. God wanted us to know, as explained in Genesis, Galatians 3 and Romans 4, that our natural man, Abraham, has no power to bring forth the new man, right, new son, the second son, Isaac. And spiritually speaking, New Testament says, actually, our natural man, you and I, our flesh, we have no power to bring forth a new birth in our lives, the second birth from above. The natural man can only bring forth what? Hagar’s son, Ishmael, and that represents our first birth, which is our fleshly birth, that we are born as children of Adam. Now, the new birth, Isaac, represents a new creation, begotten not of the flesh or will according to man or even of the flesh, but by divine word, by God’s word and God’s promise, and his word is the first one. So, our second birth, our spiritual birth, is entirely by grace of God. Our spiritual man, the promised second birth from above, is purely God’s work when, after we are dead, basically, after death comes a true birth. And this is described in Galatians, chapters 3 and 4. This is what it says, the verse is, And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:6-7)
So, this is in reference to describing this chapter of Genesis, Genesis 21. Spiritual interpretation is to explain this, that Jesus was going to come, to redeem us out of slavery, into being a true son, and to receive adoption.
Now, what happens in the second passage, after Isaac is born, the Bible says, you have to cast out the old son, which is Ishmael, right? Cast out Ishmael. And the Bible describes, what does that mean? It means that when we are born again, we are, by faith and by His grace, a spiritual person is born within us, as God’s promise, and Spirit is given to us. Now, when that happens to us, the fleshly man, the first birth, which is Ishmael, is going to be jealous. And it’s going to mock us, and it’s going to persecute us, and it’s going to want to steal the inheritance.
And that’s what the apostle Paul says, that’s what’s happening here. And the Bible says, flesh and blood are Ishmael-ness, our firstborn, and our secondborn. And the Bible says, the firstborn is the son of Ishmael, the secondborn is the son of Ishmael. And that’s what’s happening here. And the Bible says, flesh and blood are Ishmael-ness, our first birth cannot inherit God’s kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 15:15, it says, now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit, this is all about inheritance here, inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
15 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:15)
So in reference to this, is to tell us that our flesh and blood are Ishmael, our first birth cannot inherit the true sonship, which is represented here by Isaac. And that these two are opposed. Galatians tells us that we should now be aware of our new creation that happened to us as a new child of God in the Spirit, and that we should live now according to our new person, new man, new creation, the spiritual man within us.
And what happened is that Abraham, when he, and Sarah said, hey, cast out Ishmael, what happened? Abraham was displeased, right? So it’s very possible that when you’re born again, that our flesh is very unhappy. Ishmael is unhappy, Hagar is very unhappy. But the Bible says in Galatians 5 that as your spiritual life grows, that day by day, that we have to cast out this fleshly self. We cannot inherit God’s kingdom with our fleshly self. The Bible says in Galatians 5 it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. It says stand firm therefore and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
So there is going to be a lot of battle going on in us. The spiritual battle is happening where? Mainly in us. And this is going to happen. But, apostle Paul said, but I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5: For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the Spirit are against the flesh and they are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law and you are a true son.
So what this means is that for all of us, right now, you might feel, do you feel opposed? Do you feel the persecution? Do you feel the mocking of your flesh? Do you feel the pressure you feel day to day? And that is your fleshly self. And the Bible says, remember you are born again. Right? You have Jesus in you, you are the true sonship, and it is our job to cast out that fleshly self.
So I hope that is very clear to us that when we say I, when you feel something, sometimes you feel down, you feel up, you feel down, sometimes you feel worried, you feel unhappy, maybe you are concerned, maybe you are wondering all about what is your future, what am I like, I feel ashamed. All of that feeling comes from Ishmael-ness of us, amen? And that is not us. So when you refer yourself to I, the Bible says, don’t listen to that self, because that one has to die. That has to be cast out. So when you say I, the Bible says listen, your I is now Isaac, amen? And you have to live according to that person. And if you have not cast out Ishmael, guess what is happening? Ishmael is stealing your inheritance. So Sarah saw this, that, oh, Ishmael at this time was 14, 15, and Sarah says that Ishmael is going to steal the inheritance of Isaac, so Sarah says, must go. You have to go. It is tough finding Abraham, I know you are displeased, you are unhappy, you have to go. And for us, sometimes we are like Abraham, we don’t want to go, we are very displeased that we have to let go of our flesh, but God promises here that our flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, amen?
You want to have joy, and that is my next point, you want to have laughter, Isaac’s name is laughter, you cannot have that laughter when there is a mocking that’s happening in your life. There is a threat and a persecution of stealing, wanting to steal your inheritance happening in our lives right now, and that is that Ishmael’s threat every day. So cast that out, and you will have true joy, the name of Isaac, amen?
So clearly there is a point to this name that everyone wants us to know, right? Because what happened, why is it called Isaac? Why is it called laughter? As we see there is several references to laughter, it’s the same laughter here. What happens early on is that when God says, hey I’m going to give you a son, and through Sarah, and Abraham laughs, can you just bless my Ishmael? Happens, right? In Genesis 17, can you just bless my flesh? Is what Abraham is actually asking spiritually, and God says, and that’s when he laughs incredulously.
And then as you know, the second Sarah hears it, Sarah laughs, Sarah lets, no way, right? Basically no way like, pssh. That’s what it means, right? When she laughs, it’s like pssh, right? And then what happens is that finally here, God says, I keep my promise, and this is the one that my word becomes true in your life, that son’s name has to be Isaac, right? Meaning true laughter, laughter out of gratitude and joy.
So what does this mean? It means that our true Christianity, right? It cannot be about being sad and being rule keeping, like being part of being a slave, and being a slave to our flesh, right? That cannot be the goal of our Christian life. True promised gospel that God wants to give to us is to give us joy, to set us free from this slavery, from the spirit of bondage of this flesh that we suffer under, and that God wants to give us a spirit of joy and happiness and freedom, and that’s God’s heart towards you and me in giving us this new birth. Amen?
So don’t get fooled ever, somehow that when we live a Christian life, a religious life, that somehow it has to be sad and rule keeping and religious, and we lose that joy, because that is not us, the Isaacs speaking to us, it’s the Ishmael trying to take our inheritance away.
In fact, in Deuteronomy 28, when people are about to go into promised land, Moses says to them, look, God is going to bless you when you get to promised land, and there is blessings when you follow God. This is God’s heart, and you’re going to have a lot of abundance, however, let me tell you, you can also, if you don’t follow God, you’re going to be cursed, and a sign of the curse is that you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity.
47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, (Deuteronomy 28:47)
Moses in fact says that you’re going to receive a lot of blessing, but as a result of this blessing, if you lose that joy to follow the Lord, that’s a sign of curse. So let us all ask to ourselves, are you joyful? Am I joyful? Because you’re a Christian, that we have Isaac, God, kept His word and gave Isaac to us. That’s a good question for us to ask.
And what else is happening here? Abraham, here in this chapter, we see Abraham’s growth during those 25 years after the beginning of the call, and finally he sees Isaac being born from Sarah. His faith muscle is really growing. And he sees, Abraham sees what God says, what God promises He actually does, and God keeps His promise here.
If you remember, God says, Abraham, leave your home. So he had to leave his whole home. He followed God’s voice 25 years ago, and Abraham had a lot of plan Bs. Remember all the plan Bs when we went through. If this doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll do a lot. And he had a bunch of, if a lot doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll do Ishmael. So he had a lot. Maybe I’ll sell my wife twice to sell, to keep my, to keep this going.
In the process, he met angels. He had dreams and visions. He saw multiple confirmations from God. He even saw Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment with his own. God says, I’m going to judge, and God judges them. There was a circumcision, another promise, and God says, you are going to have a child through Sarah, and you’re going to name him Isaac. That happens in earlier chapter. And he obeys everything now, right? Because he sees that God’s promise comes true every time He promises. He’s able to do that, so then that, now he’s able to even cast out Hagar and Ishmael, even though he didn’t want to.
So he, out of trust in God, he’s able to do that. So Abraham is growing in absolute trust in God, in God’s voice, throughout this passage. And then what’s happening here? Abraham is actually dying to himself. All of his plans, all of his plan Bs, all of his flesh, all of his natural desires, he’s dying to all of that and learning to trust God. And as we’ll see in the next chapter, in Genesis 22, he even surrenders Isaac. Right? And that’s the next chapter. That’s the culmination of absolute trust that Abraham learns in his life. And God, Abraham learns, you know, Isaac is not actually my son. He’s realizing that actually Isaac is God’s son. And that’s why he’s able to obey God’s voice. And he even surrenders Isaac in the next chapter, because he says God gave this son and God can even resurrect this son. Because that’s actually God’s son.
This is a reference to us that this is a Christian journey, not what we do for God. If you look at Abraham’s life, what did Abraham do for God? Not much. But Abraham’s life journey is a picture for us. It’s a life of what God does in Abraham’s life. That’s what a Christian life looks like. Learning to trust in God absolutely. This is the greatest act that Abraham has ever done in his life when he shows his absolute trust in God. And that’s what God is painting the picture for us here.
Our faith journey is a purification of us. Our faith journey is dying of us. Our natural self, our fleshly instincts, our even works and our religion die. So what happens is that in return our inner man is growing, our spiritual man is growing. Our faith in God is growing by His grace. When we do that, our joy should also grow. Our freedom should also grow. Jesus came to set us free from our sin. Jesus came to give us Isaac instead of Ishmael in our lives.
The Bible says that the prophecy that Ishmael is that he’s going to be a wild donkey of a man. That tells us that our flesh generally is going to be wild. Okay? It’s going to be against everybody. That’s what the Bible says that his name meant. It’s going to be wild flesh, doesn’t want to obey. It’s going to be a wild thing. But we’ll save this for next time, but as you’ll see in our story that God has a plan for even the wild Ishmael. Amen? God’s plan actually includes our flesh. Did you know that? Amen? He will redeem even this wild Ishmael.
And that’s why Hagar is actually his favorite here. Because God said, I’m going to take care of you. Because I actually have a plan for you too, Hagar. Right? And God will bring that. This whole Abimelek thing, I’ll just cut it short. Abimelek, this treaty is that as a result of this, Abraham plants a tree, remember, right? So Abraham is saying that everything God promises will happen. Isaac happened.
So one of the promises that God makes to Abraham is that this is your land. I make a covenant with you in Genesis 17. This land, everlasting covenant with you and your descendants. So when Abraham sees that Isaac is born, what does he know? God’s other plan, that this land is for me and my descendants, he knows it’s going to happen. Amen? He said, even if I die, I know it’s going to happen. This land is my land. My land, my descendants’ land. And therefore, I am planting a tree. That’s what it means.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7-8)
No one plants a tree because if you’re planning to leave, right? The Bible says, I’m going to plant a tree called this eternal God. This is eternal covenant. Right? Beersheba means it’s a well of oath, a covenant. Abimelek means father is my king. And he makes this eternal God tree saying this is an eternal covenant between me and God. That this land belongs to me and my descendants. God knows how to keep His promise and Abraham is realizing that.
Now, just as an application point, even with Hagar here, if we pray according to God’s promise, guess what happens? What do you think happens? God will answer it. Amen? Because in this chapter, why does Sarah have a baby? Because God says, I told you, I’m going to give you a baby. Amen? Why does Hagar and Ishmael survive in this desert? Bible says in verse 17, because God says, you’re going to survive earlier on.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. (Genesis 21:17)
So when Hagar is praying, when Isaac or Ishmael is even praying, the Bible says, the reason why they were saved, is because God told them already. God promised. So for a lesson for you and me is that when we pray, instead of praying that, God, can you do this for me? Can you do this to me? Can you save me from this? Instead of that, I think God is teaching us to pray according to His promise. Amen? We should pray what He told us. And when we do that, that’s what our prayer should be. And God will keep it.
So look for promises that are in the Bible for you and me. And you pray the promise to Him. God, you said this. And I know you’re going to keep it. And you pray the promises that God has given us.
The second point, sorry I’m taking a little long, I won’t, I’ll end quickly. Second point is that God knows how to keep His, protect His line, His seed. Amen? The original commitment, the proto evangelion happens in Genesis 3:15. He says, see the woman will crush the seed of your seed, which is Satan, right? That’s the beginning. And God now is planning His seed, quote, with a capital S, Jesus, to come forth in the fullness of time.
And we see that, in fact, in the bigger picture here, is the seed battle, right? The battle of the two seeds. The seed is the God seed versus Satan seed. And this is the whole battle that’s going on here. Now, what does Satan want to do? Wants to crush the seed. Amen? Not amen, sorry. Wants to crush the seed. That’s what Satan is trying to do. Right?
And so we see that happening again and again here. A cane kills Abel. Nephilim in Genesis 6 wants to mix with angels want to mix with human women. Sarah was sold twice, right? Because somehow Satan knew that the seed is going to come out of Sarah. So whether Abraham made a mistake or not, anyway, Sarah was sold twice to other people. But God protects in both of those cases. In fact, it’s not even that. We see that even after Abraham had Isaac, Isaac has two children, right? Two children will find out. But his seed goes through only one of them. And we know that it goes through Jacob and not through Esau. So many things that even Noah was saved, but only one of them was the line.
So what happens is that, whether you know it or not, God is keeping His promise and God is the one who keeps His seed lying alive. And God knows what He’s doing and He knows how to protect His line to get to Jesus Christ. In fact, when Jesus was born, Herod tried to kill all the children. So there is this battle for wanting to kill God’s seed.
Now God promises it’s a seed of women. Right? Will crush. And so as a result of that, we see here that woman is Sarah. Here in this story. And later on that woman is Mary. As we know. And God will keep that line alive and He knows how to protect it.
Now Abraham had multiple sons. Ishmael, Isaac, and even after that, many other Keturahs had many kids. But God says, I know who I am choosing. My election is through Isaac. So God is the one who’s choosing who He will send His Son in the future, in the promised fulfillment of His time.
What does this tell us about this? The Bible says it’s actually His election. It has nothing to do with us. In fact, this is all written in Romans 9 if you read it. It does not depend on human effort, human work. It is actually God, entirely God, and He knows how to do that.
Even Jacob has 12 sons. And out of the 12 sons, God chooses Judah and not Joseph and not even Reuben. God says it’s going to be Judah. So God knows how to protect His line all the way to Jesus. And God is the one who will choose who He will send Jesus through.
So there are links, genetically, there are these links that happen all the way to Jesus who is born. But at the end, Jesus was born through Mary, right? Physically, not even through Joseph, because it’s not Joseph that bore Jesus. So God knows that He’s going to keep His Gospel alive.
So this is a story of God doing His redemptive history through His line. So what does this mean? It means that there is nothing we can say we can boast that we did, right? That God brought forth His seed. The Bible says that it’s actually excluded. Our flesh, our work, our, you know, what can we say that we did? It makes almost no sense, but somehow God did His work.
I didn’t even know it. Do you think Abraham knew any of this? Probably not, right? Did Noah know this? Isaac know this? No. Isaac loved Esau, right? And so there are all these things that happen, and yet God kept His promise, because it’s His story.
And I’ll come to this to close today’s, to the message. God knows how to keep His promise, and God is the one who’s doing, working through us. Like, there’s stuff happening in my life, I have no idea what’s going on. It’s probably happening in your life, you don’t know what’s going on. But God is still doing His work, amen? You have to know that. God is using your life, our life, to bring about His redemptive story, to all of His glory. The last point here, I want to talk about that. When Isaac was born here, actually, the Bible says there’s three nations that are born in Genesis 21. We know what those three nations are? What do you think? Israel, right, because that comes through Isaac, right? What’s the other nation? Pardon? From? Ishmael, right? But Arabs, the Bible wants to make sure that you understand that Hagar is from where? It says here, Hagar the Egyptian, right?
So, and what else happens? Who does Ishmael marry? From where? An Egyptian, right, exactly. So, both the Egyptian and Arabs, the Ishmaelites lines are the nation. God says what? He promised to Abraham multiple, many nations are going to come out of you, right? So, one nation is Israel, not Isaac, not just Isaac, but Isaac, Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob line. There’s also Esau line, there’s a bunch of other lines. And those are called, we call them the Jewish nation, right? The Jewish nation comes out of here.
And the second nation is Ishmaelites, represented by Egypt here, which I would categorize as the Gentiles, the Gentile nations. So, two nations are split right here. Two nations are birthed and God is telling us that Egypt has a very love and hate relationship throughout the Bible, right? And there’s a reason for that. In Genesis 17, it says you will be a father of many nations. What does that mean?
4 As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:4)
So, nation one is the Isaac line, this is the Jewish line, this is the children of the promise, foreshadowing of the promised seed, Jewish nation. Now, what was given to this line of nation? The law, right? The law gets given to the this line, the Israel, the Jewish nation. The second is the Gentile nations, represented by Ishmael and Egypt, that come out of here.
Now, there is a third nation that gets birthed in Genesis 21. The New Testament says what do you think? It’s a spiritual nation, right? The actual spiritual nation that is also birthed through Abraham. So, Posseval says it’s not just these two physical nations. The real nation that gets birthed is the Jewish nation. So, what happens is that this line of Isaac, the Jews, were given the law. Right? God gives them the law. But Apostle Paul says what? But they did not keep the law. They were given the law, but they did not keep the law.
So, as a nation, this line of Isaac, the Jewish people, what did they do? They rejected Jesus. So, Apostle Paul says this line, they were given the law, they didn’t keep the law, and in fact it rejected Jesus, thus He, the true promised one, was rejected by this line, this nation. In fact, there’s something shocking that Apostle Paul says Jerusalem, the city of the Jews, equates spiritually to Hagar. Right? So, this is when the Jews got super offended, because Jews are like, that’s Ishmael. We are the promised line. And Apostle Paul says, no, actually, spiritually, you are Hagar. Right?
So, what he’s saying is, which is very offensive to them, because they say you also are not qualified. Because you were given the law, but you broke it. The Gentile nation, represented by Ishmaelites and Egypt, and all other they, they also, they didn’t make it. Right? So, Apostle Paul says, you obviously don’t make it. However, he says, Jesus, he says, God says, I called my son out of Egypt. He says, Egypt and Israel have a very love and hate relationship. Egypt persecutes the Jewish nation, as we know in the history unfolds, and as Ishmael persecuted Isaac. But, guess what happens? God also uses Egypt to protect the Jews. God uses Egypt to protect His nation. God, in fact, sends the future of Israelites to Egypt to grow, and to become big. Right? And, in fact, God takes care of Hagar and Ishmael’s line.
What does this mean? Well, at different times in history, both Jews and Gentiles followed God, but also abandoned God. So, both of these nations have failed. So, what Possepolis argues is that both of these lines failed. The thing is, there is a third nation. In fact, righteousness has nothing to do with either of these two. One was given the law, cannot keep it. The other was Gentile nation, never given the law. But neither of them worked.
So, in fact, true righteousness comes by neither of these two lines. In fact, there is actually a third nation that is birthed, that needs to be birthed, through the seed, the promised seed, which is Jesus. Only by faith through grace, through Jesus, and His sacrifice, and unmerited so that boasting is excluded. So, Isaac spiritually represents the birth of the third nation, right?
The Apostle Paul says here, by His promise, through the seed, the singular seed, which is Jesus Christ. And this nation, Abraham is also the father, but of faith. So, the whole argument here is in Genesis 15, Genesis became, Abraham became the father of faith. And that this nation was birthed from Abraham, the father of faith.
So, what is this third nation? The Bible says that, in fact, this nation has both of these two lines, where they come and become one nation. Amen? They are brothers. The Apostle Paul said, did you know that Isaac and Ishmael are brothers? Neither of them make it. However, they become one through the seed that is Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 2, Apostle Paul says this is, for He Himself, Jesus is our peace, who has made the two groups one. Whose two groups is he referring to? These two groups right here. It says, He had destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.
14 For He Himself, Jesus is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14)
And Ephesians 2 is trying to describe to us that what, in fact, your brothers. And God’s plan is that through these two brothers’ line, He wants to create one nation, the third nation, the spiritual nation, and that, the mother of that third nation, he says, is heavenly Jerusalem. Heavenly Jerusalem represented spiritually here, allegorically, Apostle Paul says, by Sarah. So there is this third nation.
So conclusion, Genesis chapter 1, 21, very important. How do I conclude here? One, our flesh, our works, our efforts excluded, Apostle Paul says, so that there is never a boasting. We can never boast from ourselves. So our testimony as believers can never be, should always be, I don’t understand what happened, but by His grace, somehow I am saved. In spite of us, and despite what I have done, the mistakes, God did it. His mercy saved me to all God’s glory.
The Bible says Christ died for the unrighteous. So if we are followers of Christ, if we are truly the special people of God as Christians now, and if you want to be a great Christian, and if you want to be used mightily by God, and you want to have a great name, you know, sort of legacy as a Christian after you, how do you do that? One, there should never be an I in that story, is what it means. I cannot say, I did it, right? We can never say that, because it is God who does it.
If we want to be used greatly by God, how do we do that? Is to die. Our flesh must die. Our fleshly self, our talents, even our energy, even our passion, all of that, needs to die, and God is waiting for that. When we cast out our flesh, when we cast out our Ishmael, our flesh, God will then use our humility, our, quote, foolishness, our unwiseness, our, you know, lack of nobility here. God will use those people, right, to do His work, and what is He doing? What’s His final work? His will work, as Christ died for the unrighteous, God wants His children, the followers of Christ, to do the same. He’s saying that we, if we follow Christ, we cannot have division. Ultimately, Christ came to die for the unrighteous to form one nation, one spiritual nation. And so our commitment for all of us, that we are to be in salt and light for the who? For the unbelievers.
We are all former Ishmaels. We’re all Gentiles, or whatever, we just didn’t qualify by. God calls us to a new nation. And that how we live, not by our own works, not even by our own desire to be mightily used by God, but when we die to ourselves, God will use us in our debt to fleshness on behalf of our brothers, the unsaved, unrighteous, our Ishmael, the Gentile nation. So, amen.
And so I firmly believe in the truth of this. It’s not about us having a great big ministry, or God wants to use me and God’s gonna use all I am for something great for me. No, God will do His work, for His glory, just like Christ, when we die to ourselves on behalf of the unrighteous. And that is what it looks like to follow after Christ for all of us. And that’s the call for us in Genesis 20.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us this text to highlight to us what it means to be, to follow after you. Father, You have given us through Jesus Christ a second birth, a new creation in us. Father, help us to know that’s who we are. Our true identity is as children of God, Lord, the Spirit that is birthed within us.
Help us, Lord, to cast out our flesh. Help us never to allow this persecution to happen. Help us to die daily. Take up our cross and cast out. Father, all that is persecuting us, mocking us today, every day. Lord, help us to find true joy in Christ as we live to our new self, Lord.
Father, we know that you can do this and it’s your work only. There’s no boasting of me in any of my testimony in my life, only by Your mercy, Father. I am here, then you’ll continue to do your work. And Father, thank you for calling us, Lord, into that third nation that Jesus creates as His descendants.
Help us, Lord, to know that as Christ died for me, the unrighteous, that when I follow after You, that I would die to myself on behalf of my brothers and sisters, my neighbors, Lord, that I can fulfill the law as Christ did by dying, Lord, for the unrighteous. Lord, help us to die to ourselves and, Lord, be ready to be a true salt in light on behalf of, Lord, our brothers that You are telling us, Lord.
Everyone out there, those are our brothers and sisters. Lord, help us to be a true salt in light for them. Thank you. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.