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  The Great Bible Story #17
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The child of promise

Jacob Ninan
When Abraham was a hundred years old his wife Sarah gave birth to a son. It was now twenty five years since God had called him out of his hometown and promised him that his descendants would inherit the Promised Land. Sarah had been barren at that time. But now God fulfilled His promise, by giving a child to this old couple in a miraculous way. Through these long years as he was waiting on God for the promise to be fulfilled, Abraham did get doubts at times about how this was going to happen. At one time he had thought that perhaps he was to have a son through Hagar, Sarah's maidservant. But he did not give up on God and held on to his faith in God, and now he was able to see that God had not disappointed him. Sarah was so thrilled that at ninety one years of age she would have her own baby, that she laughed and remembered how God had caught her laughing when He gave her the promise and told her to call her son Isaac meaning laughter! When Isaac was eight days old, Abraham took him and circumcised him as the mark of the covenant between God and his family.

But their joy got marred because Ishmael, Abraham's son through Hagar who was now fourteen years old, was mocking Isaac. Sarah could not bear this at all, and she began to compel Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. This made Abraham very sad and perplexed because they were his wife and son! God assured him that it was Isaac who was the son of promise and that it was he who was going to be his heir inheriting all the promises He had made to him. God also comforted Abraham by saying that Ishmael would also become the head of a nation. Later we would learn that Isaac and Ishmael represented two ways of life, one by promise from God and the other by our own human effort. Only what we receive from God by faith will last.

Abraham got up in the morning, gave some bread and water to Hagar, and sent her away with Ishmael. As they walked through the desert, the water gave out, and Ishmael was suffering from severe thirst. Hagar put him under a bush, went a short distance from there and started crying. God was watching this, and He asked her why she was distressed, because He had told her He would take care of them. She looked and suddenly she saw a well of water nearby. She took the water and gave to her son. Later they both settled down in the desert areas. God was watching over them specially for Abraham's sake. Ishmael became an expert archer. From his family came the Arabs.


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Comfort & Counsel