Connecting to the Larger Story
After years of waiting, questioning God's promise, and growing impatience, Abraham and Sarah eventually gave up and tried to provide an heir and a fulfillment to the promise by their own methods. Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham so that she might have a son for them. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, but things did not work out as they had planned. Sarah grew jealous and, when she finally had the son God had promised - Isaac - and sent Ishmael away. Hagar and Ishmael had become a threat - one of their own making - but God had mercy on them as they sought to survive in the wilderness alone. Isaac eventually grew up and married Rebekah who gave birth to twin sons - Esau and Jacob. A new drama - one just as messy - was about to unfold.
Important to Note
1) Families are messy, even those that God would choose to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. Abraham sent his own son Ishmael away because of Sarah, and Jacob had to flee because of the rift he had caused by stealing Esau's blessing with his mother's help. Yet these are the people that God has called for a special purpose.
2) These families become all the messier when they grow impatient with God and take matters into their own hands. Abraham and Sarah gave up on God and hatched a plan to have a son when God took too long to fulfill the promise to them. Jacob's life is threatened when his mother Rebekah helps him steal Esau's birthright. Instead of trusting in what God had said about the older brother serving the younger, they make it happen in their own way, and it creates a mess!
Thoughts for Reflection
1) Why would God choose such a flawed family through which to fulfill the promise of blessing for all families?
2) Why do we lose patience with God and take matters into our own hands? Does it ever turn out well?