For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. Galatians 4:22-23 (NIV).
In the next few verses, Paul extrapolates the history of Abraham’s children into the history of Israel. Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, by his servant Hagar, was the child of his (Abraham’s) design. Isaac, however, Abraham’s son through his wife, Sarah, was the child that God promised to Abraham. Isaac’s descendants became the Israelites, the Jews, God’s chosen people through whom He would send the eternal deliverer, Jesus.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, Abraham and Sarah are in their eighties and childless. Knowing he wanted an heir, Sarah convinced a too-willing Abraham to sleep with Hagar, her slave, and impregnate her. Abraham did this, and Hagar gave him a son, Ishmael. After this, three visitors – one of who was likely a pre-incarnate Jesus – visited Abraham and Sarah, and said Sarah would have a son, even in her old age. A year later, when the visitors returned, that’s what happened, and she gave birth to Isaac, who would father Jacob, and from whom would descend the nation of Israel and, eventually, the Savior.
Quite a story, don’t you think? Divine promises and miracles led to the Jews becoming God’s chosen people, and the thousands more miracles that happened in their midst. Tell me: do you believe it all happened, or was it simply some tale from the Bible?
Me, I believe it. I accept it. I accept what the Bible says; it isn’t for me to pick and choose what I will accept and what I won’t. Because I accept what it says about Jesus, I also accept what it says about Ishmael and Isaac, Hagar and Sarah, and Abraham. It was all divine, supernatural promise, made by God to a man who simply believed and followed Him.
If you woke up today, then God made a promise to you, too. And to me. To abide with us, even until the end of the age. In the very last minutes of His time here, Jesus made that promise to His disciples. He keeps it still today. Whether it’s air in our lungs, protection from spiritual battles unseen, examples for life through one chosen nation, or providing needed money out of thin air, Jesus abides with us still. He performs miracles all around us, maybe even through us, every day of our lives.
For further reading: Genesis 16:15, Genesis 17:16-21, Genesis 18:10-14, Genesis 21:2, Matthew 28:20, Romans 9:7-8, Hebrews 11:11, Galatians 4:24
Lord, You perform Your miracles all around me. All praise to You for this, and for Your holy provision. And for all You do.
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