We have a sad story to face today. During the celebration of Isaac’s weaning, Ishmael, the son of Hagar, is seen to be mocking him. What does that mean? We actually don’t really know. We can just see that Isaac’s mother, Sarah, does not like what is being said.
It’s clear, then, that it’s not a simple brother-brother harassment. Sarah persuades Abraham to send Hagar away, but the “away” here is more of a death sentence than a relocation. The two are lost in the wilderness and likely to die. God intervenes and saves them.
What do we learn from that? I think there’s a basic warning: Hagar has a child because Sarah suggested it. Now, Sarah’s own actions come home to roost but she wants Hagar and Ishamel to bear the burden of it. We do the same thing at times: we make choices and then refuses to take the responsibility for what happens. Yet we are the ones who caused it. Be aware: your actions will have results, and you gain nothing by forcing others to carry your weight.
The rest of the reading looks at Abraham’s relationship with Abimelech. Yes, Abimelech from Genesis 20. The two men are not exactly on the best of terms and there is conflict. It’s over water, something that still brings conflict today.
At this point, the two men swear a covenant, that Abraham would not attack Abimelech, but we see Abraham’s influence in his extracting promises from the ruler of the area. Think about that: Abimelech and Phicol are among the most powerful people in the region, and Abraham extracts a covenant with them as if between near-equals.
The point for us? God is on Abraham’s side here, and Abimelech knows better than to mess with him. We should search the Word of God and see who the Lord has said are His…