Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (Galatians 4:28-31)
Sarah created a messy situation with Hagar and Ishmael by telling Abraham to sleep with Hagar. Ishmael, her son, was jealous of Isaac and mocked him, so Sarah told Abraham to get rid of the slave woman and her son. After reading the story in Genesis 21, one might think Sarah was cruel and should be the one banished. Hagar didn’t deserve rape.
But we are all Abrahams and Sarahs, making huge mistakes. We pass our tempers, addictions, prejudices, and sometimes dark cultures onto future generations. But God gives mercy to all—the parents of his chosen people, Ishmael, and us.
God made Ishmael the father of the Arab nation after Abraham prayed for him.
Since the prophet Muhammed traced his lineage back to Abraham and Hagar, it is said that Abraham fathered three religions—Jewish, Christianity, and Muslim. Like Ishmael, many Muslims persecute Jews and Christians. Like Sarah, many Jews and Christians hate Muslims.
So God reminds us that we are children of freedom through Jesus and grace. No one can threaten our salvation or inheritance of living in God’s kingdom, so we have no reason to hate. God challenges us to love one another because when we love, we are free and don’t break laws.
Father, I praise you for making me and my offspring children of your promise. When I feel persecuted, help me love and not hate, so people will know I’m your child. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.