The conflicts in the middle east and elsewhere in the world defy logic, reason and solution. This is an age old conflict which is spiritual in nature. Inappropriate, out of control rage seems to embroil most of the world. It is difficult to discern the causes of the conflict and ones role in that conflict. The angry trouble originates with the original two ancestors of the main protagonists, Isaac and Ishmael.
The origin of these two individuals are recorded in Genesis. The narrative here mainly reveals and emphasizes the causes of events. Initiation and causation would be lost if a simple sequential, historical narrative were recorded.
Genesis 21:8 – 13 (Net Bible)
8 The child (Isaac) grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah noticed the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”
11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset about the boy or your slave wife. Do all that Sarah is telling you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”
The first battle between the Hebrews and Ishmaelites is recorded in verse 9. Ishmael, a young man, was molesting young boy (not a baby). The mother, Sarah, noticed. She was inspired by God to take action; after all, she knew the promises that God had made to Abraham. Sarah was a top spiritual woman in her time! Additionally, God backed up the words which she spoke, confirming them to Abraham. Sarah declared the will of God "…the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son (of the promise) Isaac!" The Ishmaelites will not inherit the promise of Abraham. They are banished, separated from the promise, its blessing, and those that inherit.
Note what God says to Abraham regarding Ishmael – "…But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation…" The nation of the Ishmaelites continues in the world today.
Jesus gives fresh insight into the significance of membership in the family of Abraham. For those who think their salvation is secured through their descent from Abraham (e.g. the Ishmaelites and unbelieving Hebrews), Jesus prophetically declares:
Matthew 3:8, 9
8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, 9 and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!
By Revelation from God, Paul declares God's confirmation of these things to the new sons of the promise who are grafted into the family tree through Christ Jesus:
Romans 9:6b – 8
6b For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, 7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” 8 This means it is not the children of the flesh (Ishmaelites and unbelieving Hebrews) who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise (Isaac, the believing Hebrews and those born again) are counted as descendants.
Galatians 3:13, 14
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.
We can KNOW (not doubt or question) we have received the blessing of Abraham and are counted among the children of promise. Our standing before God is confirmed every time we manifest that gift of holy spirit which is in every single person who is "born from above" or "born again".
The Ishmaelites are always so angry at us, no matter what we do. The spiritual cause for this is apparent as we have read. By revelation, the apostle Paul mentions the persecution as well:
Galatians 4:28 – 31
28 But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is now. 30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” of the free woman. 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.
If Jesus Christ is your savior and your director, then you are a child of promise like Isaac. Because of this, you continue to be persecuted by the one born by natural descent (Ishmaelites). Rest assured that they will not share in your inheritance!
2 Corinthians 4:15 – 18
15 For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
The Bible verses are from the NET Bible, http://bible.org/netbible/index.htm
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(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe