October 22nd, 2021 – Late Friday Morning
“And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’ But God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.'” ~Genesis 17:18-20
What a small perspective we have and what a wonderfully rich and full view the LORD has! Abraham was focused on the present and the circumstances that he had allowed himself (and his family) to get into and how he desired the LORD to work that out according to His promise. The LORD, however, sees the whole picture at all times and He was not about to change the plan because of Abraham’s lapse of faith. No, He was intent on blessing Abraham & Sarah with their own biological son who would be in covenant relationship with Himself for all time. It was not going to be too hard for the LORD to give Sarah a baby and bring her through the pregnancy, labor, and birth; it was not going to be too difficult for Him to establish His word with Isaac’s descendants.
That is all good and truly wonderful, but there is a piece that comes next that takes it to the next level: Not only did the LORD correct Abraham’s small perspective and reaffirm His plan and purposes, but the LORD then shows favor to Abraham (and therefore to Ishmael) by granting Abraham’s desire to see Ishmael prospered and blessed before the LORD. He doesn’t exclude Ishmael from everything good just because His covenant will be with Isaac; no, rather, He abundantly blesses Ishmael on behalf of Abraham and proclaims the greatness and fruitfulness that Ishmael and his descendants will enjoy.
Isn’t the LORD God amazing? Here He has reminded Abraham of His sovereignty and authority by reaffirming His covenant and promise. He strengthens Abraham’s faith by making clear the reality that Sarah will indeed bear a son – He even gives the name that the child will possess. Finally, He shows His great mercy, compassion, and grace by promising blessing upon blessing on Ishmael and his future family. The LORD is in control; He is the final authority, the powerful Life-Giver, and the gracious Most High who prospers and builds up.
Beloved, let us not for a moment forget how deep and wide the mercy, compassion, and favor of the LORD is! Let us not succumb to the situations, temptations, and trials of this short life by losing sight of Him. Rather, let us pour out our hearts before Him (Philippians 4:4-7) and rest in His faithfulness, righteous judgment, and truly good nature. How blessed we are to know and have such a compassionate and perfect Father!