This particular posting goes into the promises, and predictions made by God to Abraham. In it, you will note the accuracy and exactness of the fulfillment, and how the dynamics between the two ‘half brothers’ is still in existence to this day. It also demonstrates how God keeps his word, no matter what interference man throws into the mix. It also demonstrates the exactness of consequences an individual or group will pay when ‘meddling’ with God’s prophecy.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those that bless you, and him who curses you I will curse: and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” Genesis 12:1-3
For all the land which you would see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Genesis 13:15-17
And he brought him outside and said, “Look towards heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be” Genesis 15:5
Three times God made a promise to Abram concerning the future nation of Israel, and each time God made the promise, He used allegories that Abraham would not mistake or misinterpret, and after the third promise, scripture points out that Abram believed this despite having no offspring for himself, and being advanced in age. But due to some mischief from Sarai, with Abram’s cooperation, these plans took a detour, and this misadventure by Abram and Sarai has caused trouble from that day on, and continues to this day.
Sarai’s ‘indecent proposal”
Now, Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; and Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children” go into my maid; it may be that I shall obtain children by her” And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. Genesis 16:1-2
Scripture refers to the timeframe in which God made a promise to Abram was about 10 years, and Abram and Sarai took it upon themselves to ‘fulfill’ the prophecy given to them by God. However, this had very large and unintended consequences for the future nation of Israel. The intended son, who was to fulfill this prophecy, although not born, and despite the ‘forced’ effort to fulfill God’s prophecy by his parents (similar to today) now would have to contend with God’s promise to make Abram’s descendants as ‘numerous with the stars’ with an illegitimate heir. It was God’s intention of keeping this promise to Abram’s “God given” son, but God kept his promise to multiply ALL of Abram’s descendants, thus causing future problems for all involved.
We pick up after Hagar fled to the desert out of fear of Saria:
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And He said “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai. The angel of the Lord said to her “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also told her I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude”. And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen”. Genesis 16:7-12
Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abram and Hagar, was still entitled to the promise God made to Abram, but it ended up becoming a thorn in the side of the future nation of Israel. God demonstrated through this series of scriptures that He will keep his word, no matter how much interference is run by man’s way of thinking and acting. It also demonstrates what kind of trouble we can get ourselves into when we try to do God’s thinking for him. Scripture is rife with the struggle between these two half siblings and their offspring, and it fulfills passages in scripture, as well as Biblical principles that God keeps his promises.
The descendants of Ishmael eventually inhabited the majority of the Middle East, where they continue to live to this day. They are known as the Arabs, and their religious system is Islam. In considering the series of verses, this prophecy has been fulfilled in totality, as history has confirmed the constant infighting between these two clans. It is of no surprise that many in Islam want to see the total destruction of the Jewish nation and peoples, as they see them as the ‘illegitimate’ son of their father Abraham. As we can see, the struggle between the Jewish nation and Islam has been prophesized and fulfilled in scripture. This struggle will continue until the time of the Anti-Christ, and peace is not possible. We can see this through all the efforts put into the peace process, and it has been written that it will not occur.
The lessons to be gleaned from the likes of Abraham, considered one of the great fathers of the faith is, that no one is ‘above the law’ concerning God and His will. No matter what our perceived status may be, we are subject to His Holy will, and nothing we do can change the mind of God, who knows the beginning from the end.