Genesis 21* Birth of Isaac, Sarah's joy. (1-8) Ishmael mocks Isaac. (9-13)Hagar and Ishmael are cast forth, They are relieved andcomforted by an angel. (14-21) Abimelech's covenant withAbraham. (22-34)1-8 Few under the Old Testament were brought into the worldwith such expectations as Isaac. He was in this a type ofChrist, that Seed which the holy God so long promised, and holymen so long expected. He was born according to the promise, atthe set time of which God had spoken. God's promised mercieswill certainly come at the time which He sets, and that is thebest time. Isaac means "laughter," and there was good reason forthe name, ch. #17:17; 18:13|. When the Sun of comfort is risenupon the soul, it is good to remember how welcome the dawning ofthe day was. When Sarah received the promise, she laughed withdistrust and doubt. When God gives us the mercies we began todespair of, we ought to remember with sorrow and shame oursinful distrust of his power and promise, when we were inpursuit of them. This mercy filled Sarah with joy and wonder.God's favours to his covenant people are such as surpass theirown and others' thoughts and expectations: who could imaginethat he should do so much for those that deserve so little, nay,for those that deserve so ill? Who would have said that Godshould send his Son to die for us, his Spirit to make us holy,his angels to attend us? Who would have said that such greatsins should be pardoned, such mean services accepted, and suchworthless worms taken into covenant? A short account of Isaac'sinfancy is given. God's blessing upon the nursing of children,and the preservation of them through the perils of the infantage, are to be acknowledged as signal instances of the care andtenderness of the Divine providence. See #Ps 22:9,10; Ho11:1,2|. 9-13 Let us not overlook the manner in which this family matterinstructs us not to rest in outward privileges, or in our owndoings. And let us seek the blessings of the new covenant byfaith in its Divine Surety. Ishmael's conduct was persecution,being done in profane contempt of the covenant and promise, andwith malice against Isaac. God takes notice of what children sayand do in their play; and will reckon with them, if they say ordo amiss, though their parents do not. Mocking is a great sin,and very provoking to God. And the children of promise mustexpect to be mocked. Abraham was grieved that Ishmael shouldmisbehave, and Sarah demand so severe a punishment. But Godshowed him that Isaac must be the father of the promised Seed;therefore, send Ishmael away, lest he corrupt the manners, ortry to take the rights of Isaac. The covenant seed of Abrahammust be a people by themselves, not mingled with those who wereout of covenant: Sarah little thought of this; but God turnedaright what she said. 14-21 If Hagar and Ishmael had behaved well in Abraham'sfamily, they might have continued there; but they were justlypunished. By abusing privileges, we forfeit them. Those who knownot when they are well off, will be made to know the worth ofmercies by the want of them. They were brought to distress inthe wilderness. It is not said that the provisions were spent,or that Abraham sent them away without money. But the water wasspent; and having lost their way, in that hot climate Ishmaelwas soon overcome with fatigue and thirst. God's readiness tohelp us when we are in trouble, must not slacken, but quickenour endeavours to help ourselves. The promise concerning her sonis repeated, as a reason why Hagar should bestir herself to helphim. It should engage our care and pains about children andyoung people, to consider that we know not what great use Godhas designed them for, and may make of them. The angel directsher to a present supply. Many who have reason to be comforted,go mourning from day to day, because they do not see the reasonthey have for comfort. There is a well of water near them in thecovenant of grace, but they are not aware of it, till the sameGod that opened their eyes to see their wound, opens them to seetheir remedy. Paran was a wild place, fit for a wild man; suchas Ishmael. Those who are born after the flesh, take up with thewilderness of this world, while the children of the promise aimat the heavenly Canaan, and cannot be at rest till they arethere. Yet God was with the lad; his outward welfare was owingto this. 22-34 Abimelech felt sure that the promises of God would befulfilled to Abraham. It is wise to connect ourselves with thosewho are blessed of God; and we ought to requite kindness tothose who have been kind to us. Wells of water are scarce andvaluable in eastern countries. Abraham took care to have histitle to the well allowed, to prevent disputes in future. Nomore can be expected from an honest man than that he be ready todo right, as soon as he knows he has done wrong. Abraham, beingnow in a good neighbourhood, stayed a great while there. Therehe made, not only a constant practice, but an open profession ofhis religion. There he called on the name of the Lord, as theeverlasting God; probably in the grove he planted, which was hisplace of prayer. Abraham kept up public worship, in which hisneighbours might join. Good men should do all they can to makeothers so. Wherever we sojourn, we must neither neglect nor beashamed of the worship of Jehovah.
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