Laughter. Joy. Baby! Abraham and Sarah finally receive what God promised… after 25 years! In the last few chapters, we saw how the pair became impatient, and tried to take things into their own hands by rushing the process. But it is God’s timing. We must have faith that He will keep His promises to us; He has never failed. His promise to Abraham was unconditional. It would be fulfilled not due to Abraham’s complete obedience, but due to God keeping His word.
Isaac means “he will laugh.” In Genesis 17 and Genesis 18, both Abraham and Sarah laughed when they heard God’s promise of a son to them. Abraham’s laugh was of excitement, while Sarah’s was of doubt, as she was very old at the time. Funny enough, she was substantially older when the promise was fulfilled (about 90 to be exact). Now, both Abraham and Sarah were filled with merciful laughter and joy. Isaac’s name is a constant reminder to not doubt the Lord and His promises.
Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, was older and began to mock Isaac. God also sees how children act, and saw Ishmael acting in contempt of God’s promise being fulfilled in Isaac. Galatians 4 describes how Ishmael was born of flesh and a bondwoman, while Isaac by promise and a freewoman. We today cannot be followers of God through flesh, but only by faith in His promise of forgiveness of sins through His son, Jesus Christ. Sarah was troubled by Ishmael’s presence, and Abraham listened after consulting with God. We too belong to the free, not the bonded.
“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:24
Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away, trusting that God would take care of them as He said. In the desert God hears the voice of Ishmael, taking special care to listen to him as he was the son of Abraham. God repeats his promise of a great nation for Ishmael, later known as the Arabians.
Abraham was still a rich and powerful man of the land, and a ruler came to him asking for a “no-hostility agreement.” This is not the same Abimelech from Genesis 20; Abimelech was a name for a ruler of that time. He saw and believed that God’s promise to Abraham of a great nation would be fulfilled. God’s blessings were evident in Abraham’s life.