Day 5: Vayera/Genesis 21:5-34
It is strange to think that a covenant can exist between two opposing and unrelated parties, yet a covenant may not ever materialize between ones so close as father and son. This is precisely what took place between Abraham and the current inhabitants of the Land contrasted to Abraham and his own son Ishmael. Either through rejection or neglect, both opposing parties would become the eventual enemies of Abraham’s descendants and seed. His descendants named through Isaac would be forced to hostilely engage groups over their own posterity and the source of their bloodline. Abraham’s Seed would-be Messiah, meaning that the earthly seed found within the house of Ishmael and the Philistines would be incompatible with Righteous Seed until repentance.
Nonetheless, a Yah-breathed ordinance was revealed to Abraham causing him to send away Ishmael and Hagar. The reason is speculative, but it could be that Elohim knew Ishmael could lead Isaac into evil temptations and inclinations; or, Ishmael would allow jealousy to overtake him so as to kill Isaac, just as Cain did. It stands to reason, though, that YHVH knew the heart and future of Ishmael. Quite obviously, that future did not run parallel to Isaac’s by Providential design.
From an earthly, emotionally-based perspective, the justification was not needed for Ishmael’s removal. To Ishmael it probably felt, smelled, and smacked of rejection by his dad. Abraham was not so callous to not feel pain, though. Turning his son away from himself and his household must have been heart-wrenching. In turn, Ishmael, being almost a man at around sixteen years old, would have still stung with grief and most certainly rehearsed this under the bush in the desert.
The kind of grief Abraham must have felt as he abandoned Ishmael and the rejection felt by Ishmael are excellent examples of how the Creator must have felt when sin was found in Adam. Knowing how many would reject Elohim because of His judgment upon man to leave the Garden and the grief sin caused, the Creator knew it was necessary. There would still be those that would choose YHVH as their only Elohim, serving Him in the way He designed and purposed. YHVH did not neglect His Covenant, nor did He break it. In fact, His judgment ensured the Covenant would endure.
Abraham did not neglect the covenant established between himself and, nor could Isaac be blamed for negligence. From the start, it was clear that Abimelech was self-motivated in desiring a covenant. It was clear to him that Abraham, his sons, and posterity would be mightier than his future nation. A little after Abraham’s life narrative, Isaac would come back to the same wells his father dug. The same discussion and arguments would resurface as Abimelech’s men assumed ownership of Isaac’s water sources, even though they didn’t do the digging. Their sense of self-entitlement was warped based on a covenant established solely for the sake of self-serving gain. While Abraham was seeking peace, as would Isaac, Abimelech, and the future Philistines would only have their own self-interests in mind. They would not revere the covenant, nor would they properly fear YHVH.
Herein lies the rub toward YHVH in the Covenant(s) He establishes with His own children. They seek self-gain and self-reliance. All the while, YHVH seeks good for His people for the glory of Israel and to raise the standard/banner declaring YHVH is Creator, Provider, and Husband.
Sadly, it’s Abimelech is not alone in his arrogance. Yah’s own Covenant people will later insist on a King. They, too, while desiring one Elohim and longing for nationalistic covenant and heritage, will break covenant, fellowship, and loyalty so they can seek self-reliance. This description depicts the Philistines, Israel, Judah, and Christians if they seek their own will versus YHVH’s.
Our desire should turn toward the maker and initiator of the Covenant. As much as we may desire that relationship with a Husband, He is the One from which that desire initialized. It was certainly evident with Abraham, Isaac, Yacov. We do not choose others who partake of this Covenant and relationship, that’s up to Elohim. It could be that dads and sons of one household cling to YHVH’s promises, while others are divided by theology or worldly corruption. We, however, if chosen, are being tested and should cling to the Covenant Giver, counting ourselves as blessed among nations that YHVH would desire to be Father and Husband to us. If we choose Him and seek to do His will, abandon our own Ishmael and walk with integrity in the promises we make, we will be lifted up above all nations and be rendered as the Bride, sons and daughters, and inheritors of the Promise.
In stark contrast, those like Ishmael or the Philistines are slaves to themselves in trying to seek what gain out of any covenant. Those being like Isaac are free, living in the house of the Covenant Maker forever (John 8:35).
Dwell upon Galatians 4:28-31, “And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Ruach, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.”