Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Genesis Notes: Ishmael's Resume

Ishmael is usually a character who gets eclipsed by the dramatic tale of Abraham and Isaac. And yet I always feel sorry for that favored, much loved son who is suddenly cast out into the desert. No wonder he cried, despite his years. Everything he knew had been ripped away from him.

This resume shows us the whole picture so we can get perspective on Ishmael.

Hagar and Ishmael in desert, Grigoriy Ugryumov
Much of what happened throughout his life cannot be blamed on Ishmael. He was caught in a process much bigger than himself. However, his own actions showed that he had chosen to become part of the problem and not part of the solution. He chose to live under his circumstances rather than above them.

Strengths and accomplishments:
  • One of the first to experience the physical sign of God's covenant, circumcision 
  •  Known for his ability as an archer and hunter 
  •  Fathered 12 sons who became leaders of warrior tribes
Weaknesses and mistakes:
  • Failed to recognize the place of his half brother, Isaac, and mocked him
Lessons from his life:
  • God's plans incorporate people's mistakes
Vital statistics:
  • Where: Canaan and Egypt
  • Occupation: Hunter, archer, warrior
  • Relatives: Parents - Hagar and Abraham. Half brother - Isaac.
Key verses:
"God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, 'What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation'" (Genesis 21:17, 18).

Ishmael's story is told in Genesis 16-17; 25:12-18; 28:8, 9; 36:1-3. He is also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1:28-31; Romans 9:7-9; Galatians 4:21-31.
All quotes from Life Application Study Bible. This series first ran in 2004 and 2005. I'm refreshing it as I go. For links to the whole study, go to the Genesis Index. For more about the resources used, go here.

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