God provides. In the most strange, unbelievable, and dire circumstances, God provides. And the reason he provides is that he has a plan and has made promises that he will be the one to complete these plans.
Lying to the King
The three stories in this passage are bookended with Abraham’s dealings with a king called Abimelech. Abraham tells the people of this land that his wife Sarah is actually his sister, in hopes that they will treat him well on account of Sarah’s beauty. For a little while, this plan works.
But a curse comes upon Abimelech and his people because he has taken Sarah to be one of his wives. The curse is ironic. In taking in a barren woman, all the women of Abimelech’s land become barren. This is a partial fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham - whoever curses you will be cursed.
God then visits Abimelech in a dream and tells him the truth about Sarah. Most interestingly, God tells Abimelech that he had not slept with Sarah yet because it was God kept him from sinning. Sarah is restored to Abraham along with a generous gift from the king, and the curse is lifted. God provided protection and provision for Abraham and his family in this very strange circumstance.
The reason is simple. God was protecting Abraham’s family line. His nation would not be great because it came from a king. His nation would be great because God was with them.
The Long-Expected Son Arrives
The next story we come upon is a story of fulfillment. God had promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a child. In their old age, their long-expected son Isaac is born and circumcised as a sign of God’s promise. God has provided in the most unbelievable circumstances.
The Unaccepted Son Leaves
But Sarah sees her slave, Hagar, laughing at the party. This is a woman with whom Abraham conceived Ishmael. Sarah is suspicious, so she forces her to leave the household. But Abraham pleads with God to provide for his son, Ishmael. Because of God’s commitment to Abraham, he promises to make this son into a nation as well. Although, Ishmael's line will not be the blessed nation God had promised.
Banished in the wilderness and on the verge of watching her young child, Ishmael, die, Hagar cries out in desperation. God hears her and responds. He provides them with water and sees to it that Ishmael grows up, gets married, and multiplies into a nation just as God had promised Hagar. In the most dire circumstances, because of God’s love for Abraham, he provides a way to turn a slave woman into the matriarch of a nation.
Where is Jesus?
In the most strange, unbelievable, and dire circumstances, God provides. And he provides most fully for us in Jesus.
Appealing to the King
As Abraham was protected by claiming Sarah as his sister, we are protected by claiming Jesus as our brother. And whereas, Abimelech’s people were cursed with Sarah’s barrenness when he took her as his wife, we are blessed with Jesus’ life when we take him as our husband.
God kept king Abimelech from sinning to protect Sarah, Abraham, and his descendants. Conversely, God did not keep the rulers of Jesus’ day from carrying out their sin upon him in the crucifixion. God’s chosen people were preserved in Abraham’s protection but were purchased in Jesus’ crucifixion.
The Long-Expected Son of God Arrives
God came through on his promise at Isaac’s birth. In Jesus, he also came through on his promise of a final descendant of Abraham. The birth of Jesus proves that God is faithful to his promises. When Jesus was born, not only were Abraham and Sarah’s hopes finally met, but the pregnant hopes of the entire Old Testament were satisfied as well.
The Unaccepted Sons and Daughters Brought In
God saved and provided for Hagar and Ishmael on account of his commitment to Abraham, even though they were outside his covenant people. God also saves and provides for us on account of his commitment to Jesus. Even if we are outside his covenant people, God brings us in because Jesus has made a way.
See For Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals to you a God who provides everything needed to accomplish his plans and promises and that you would see Jesus as the one who ultimately provides for all those promises and hopes.