BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 17, Day 4: Genesis 21:8-21

Summary of passage:  Isaac grew and Abraham held a great feast for him on the day he was weaned.  Sarah saw Ishmael was mocking so she told Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael.  Abraham was distressed by God told him to do as Sarah says for it is Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.  He will also make Ishmael into a nation also.

So Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away.  They wandered in the desert of Beersheba. They ran out of water and Hagar and Ishmael began to cry.  An angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar and told her God had heard the boy crying.  Take him by the hand for God will make him into a great nation.

God provided water and was with the boy as he grew up.  He lived in the desert of Paran and became an archer.  His wife was Egyptian.

Questions:

9a)  Act haughty, despise their masters, be jealous of Isaac, be prideful and boastful of being Abraham’s son

b)  Because Ishmael is a slave, meaning he does not share in the freedom Christ brings believers, and he persecutes Isaac or believers.

c)  He provided them water in the desert and gave them assurance and peace about their path.  God was with Ishmael as he grew up and blessed him with 12 kids, each who were tribal rulers.  He gave them a place to settle and rule.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  1 Peter here doesn’t help me.  We’ve read it before this year.  It assures me in the fact that God cares for all of His children even those who are not liked by others and who bear a difficult life and who according to Galatians are not free and are of the flesh.  Thus, He cares for me as well.

Besides this, I’m not assured because I am a believer; whereas, Ishmael was not so the comparison is hard to make.

10a)  Ishmael wants to dominate and win over Isaac and receive God’s blessing.  Same with sin which wants to dominate the Spirit.  It’s the devil versus God and only you can decide who will win.

It is a conflict still raging today:  following God in the flesh versus following God in faith through the promise.

b)  The sinful nature has died in a believer so that the Spirit may rule.  Here, Ishmael was removed so Isaac could win.

There is no reconciliation with the flesh.  We must either trust in the Spirit or the flesh and the decision must be final.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Struggles we all have:  to do what is right versus what is wrong; to listen to God or to the world; to do the easy thing or the hard thing; to fight for our beliefs or let it slide; to do God’s work or to not even bother; to take up the sword and fight or to give in; to cut off others who are sapping our Spirit or to continue in a lackluster and drama-ridden relationship.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The Spirit and therefore I live and the sinful nature is put to death.  The Spirit leads me to do what is right against sin and to overcome it.  The Spirit wins.  It’s not always easy.  But my faith prevails.

Conclusions:  Maybe I’m just being lazy today but I cringed every time I was sent to another passage today.  I thought Ah, I don’t want to read anymore or look anything else up.  Especially 1 Peter.  I’m not for sure if this is a symptom of this year where it seems like we are constantly being sent elsewhere or what but today I was weary of it.

I liked how Ishmael is sin so he must be sent away in order for the Spirit (Isaac) to prosper.  I had never thought of it like this before.  A good lesson in how sin (the flesh) must be vanquished in order for us, the Spirit, to thrive.  We must make difficult decisions at times so we can accomplish God’s purpose for us here on earth.

End Note:  Here’s a map where people say the Desert of Paran is: http://bibleatlas.org/full/paran.htm

This makes sense to me because Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt through the wilderness of Paran in Numbers so it would be in the Sinai Peninsula.

However, some say Paran is in Saudia Arabia where Mecca was since Ishmael was an Arab it would make sense he would settle here where Islam began.

This could be true as well since no one knows how big the area called the Paran was.  It could be a whole desert area that encompasses both the Sinai and Arabia.

You make the call.