Genesis 17: 15-21….Ishmael v Isaac!

And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

Comment: It doesn’t seem wise to me to laugh at what God tells you. Abraham did just that and God it seems maybe enjoyed the joke, for the promised son was to be called Isaac (he laughs). Sarah was confirmed as Abraham’s Princess (the word means that), but this time the promise is dated – next year – and that was about nine and a bit months away! Abraham pleaded for Ishmael and God promised that boy a lot. He fathered 12 sons and they were the heads of 12 tribes. Isaac would have only 2 sons named in the Bible. The chosen one of those (Jacob – later changed to Israel) had 12 sons after whom the 12 tribes of Israel (Israel or the Jews) are named. You may feel a bit confused as to how 12 equals 13 as you read the Bible passages. We’ll deal with that later on in Genesis – but be assured that the explanation is quite sound and it has nothing to do with what used to be called ‘a baker’s dozen’!

Prayer: Help me to learn well that Your ways and plans often don’t fit the logic of men, but that they are always for the best!

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