Reflection on Genesis 21:1-21



Come lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand for I will make a great nation of him.”


Sarah bears a son for Abraham in their old age. Isaac grows and Sarah becomes jealous of Hagar and Ishmael. She demands that Abraham sends them away. Abraham is reluctant to do this, but God tells him not to be worried. Although Isaac is the child of promise, Ishmael will also father a nation.

Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away with some food and water. They wander in the wilderness near Beersheba. When the water is gone, Hagar places Ishmael under a bush and goes some distance away. God opens her eyes to see a well.

God is with the boy and he grows up in the wilderness.


Sometimes we act outside of God’s perfect will. Abraham had tried to make God’s promises come true by sleeping with his wife’s servant. Trouble arose later but it didn’t mean that God would wash his hands of Ishmael.

God keeps His promises to us despite our sinfulness.

He also brings unexpected blessings out of our mistakes. That’s not to say that there are no consequences- Ishmael’s descendants continue to fight against Isaac’s to this day.

God takes our high points of faith and our monumental catastrophic failings and weaves them together to achieve His purposes.

Our sins don’t have the last word.


Thank you Lord for the story of Ishmael and your provision for him in the desert. Please help me to be faithful to you all the time, and when I fall redeem my mistakes and forgive my sin. Amen.


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