A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. The lawyer, knowing
that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick: “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will
walk into this court … More
Up to this point, Abraham had assumed that his descendants would come through Ishmael. When God told him that his wife Sarah would bear him a son, Abraham laughed. Abraham laughed because to him it seemed impossible for a barren 90-year old woman to give birth to a son.
Abraham’s lack of faith is evident by his request that God’s promises be fulfilled through Ishmael. Abraham’s desire that Ishmael would be the heir: “O that Ishmael might live before Thee!” (vv. 17- 18). God makes it clear that it is Isaac and not Ishmael that will be the son of promise (v. 19).
God assures Abraham that Ishmael will not be forgotten, but that he will have many descendants and become a mighty nation (v. 20). God has kept His word as the Arab world today stretches from the Atlantic seaboard to the Persian Gulf. This geographical area embraces some seventeen of the most strategically placed and economically wealthy countries in the world. The problem is that they don’t know God. The Arabs are one of the most deadly and militant groups the world has ever known. Our news media today is constantly reporting about the Arab’s spreading terrorism around the world.
Having received God’s word about Isaac, Abraham immediately obeyed God’s command in that he was circumcised at the age of 99, a reflection of his faith (vv. 21-27). He also had Ishmael circumcised at the age of 13, but Ishmael was a rebel from birth; circumcision did nothing to change his heart.
Religious rituals do nothing to change my heart. Righteousness must come from God working within me, I must never even think that my faithful attendance in church or having my Quiet-time every day has anything to do with my eternal salvation.
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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Genesis 14:1-12Lot’s Captivity and Rescue
Genesis 14:13-24Abram and Melchizedek
Genesis 15:1-21The Abrahamic Covenant
Genesis 16:1-16Hagar and Ishmael
Genesis 17:1-16The Sign of the Covenant
Genesis 17:17-27Abraham And Ishmael are Circumcised
Genesis 18:1-15God Promises Abraham a Son
Genesis 18:16-33Abraham Makes an Appeal for Sodom
Genesis 19:1-11Lots Guests Are Assaulted
Genesis 19:12-26Lot Leaves Sodom And The Cities Are Destroyed
Genesis 19:27-38Lot’s Daughters Have Sons By Their Father
Genesis 20:1-18Abraham Tells Abemelech Sarah is His Sister