Daily Word

Consequences of our way | Genesis 21:8-14

8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.

12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So 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 in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:8-14 (ESV)

Happens again

The son of promise has arrived. About 3 years later they are celebrating his weaning. Ishmael is about 16 and laughs (or mocks / scoffs) at Isaac. Interesting. If you remember, Isaac means laughter (Gen 17:17-19) – because Sarah laughed (18:12) when she heard God would give her a child in her old age. So Sarah demands that Abraham cast the boy and his mom (Haggar) out. 

God approves of the plan and directs Abraham to do as Sarah insisted. Abraham overcomes his sorrow and responds (again) with immediate obedience.

This is not the first incidence of rivalry. If you remember last time, it was Hagar belittling Sarah which led Sarah to treat her harshly so that she fled (Genesis 16:4-6). And it doesn’t end there…

Consequences of our way

Why is this happening? In Genesis 16:1-3, Sara’s faith dried up so she (and Abram) decided to “help” God get them the son He had promised – as if God needed help. How? She asks Abram to have a son with Hagar, her servant from Egypt. They took their own way. Now they are reaping the consequences. And these are not just their consequences. Muslims today claim to be the descendents of Ismael and we know the troubles between Muslims and Jews today (though this is mostly the radical Muslims I believe).

How does God use it?

“In Galatians 4:22-29, the Apostle Paul used this conflict as an illustration of the conflict between those born of the promise and those born of the flesh.” (enduringword.com) Isaac, son of Sarah and Abraham, is the son born of the promise…and all Israel with him. Ishmael, son of Hagar and Abram, is the son of the flesh, and all Muslims with him. Paul uses this in Galatians 4:1-20 to appeal to them to not return to slavery to the law but live in the freedom of grace.


  • We’ve asked before, are you taking your own way rather than following God’s? In the end game, there is only one Way, Jesus. The other way is wide and many are those who find it. It leads to destruction.
  • Are you falling back into a way of works for salvation that puts you in slavery? Choose to live by faith alone and do the good works that come from that freedom.
Bully. Image from tenneyschool.com *

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