“Sin Is Haunting”
Forgiveness is always available, but the results of sin may haunt us for a lifetime. This was the case of Abraham and Sarah. Genesis chapter 21 informs us of the birth of Isaac. The promised son had finally arrived, but 25 years after the original promise. Fourteen years earlier this couple got tired of waiting on God and took matters into their own hands. At the advice of Sarah, Abraham sleeps with Hagar their Egyptian handmaid who was a slave. A son, named Ishmael was born.
When Isaac was three years old, Sarah noticed Ishmael (17 yrs old now) mocking his younger brother. This incensed Sarah and she demanded Abraham send Hagar and her son away (vs 9,10). Reluctantly, Abraham did what his wife asked and Hagar and Ismael wandered into a desert the next morning. You can read this interesting story, but I want to share a couple thoughts as to “why” it might have been important for Ismael and Isaac to be separated. The only bad thing Ishmael had done was look scornfully at his brother. Remember, his mother (a slave) was forced to have sex with her master (Abraham) so she is innocent in all of this also. Now, why the separation?
The Bible doesn’t really give a reason, but maybe God knew that the two families could not live together without constant friction. Is it possible God knew Ismael may harm or even kill Isaac as there was certainly room for jealousy toward his younger brother? Those are possibilities, but perhaps a greater reason is because in Genesis 22 Abraham will be tested on his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, his ONLY son. Had Ishmael not been banished from the home, maybe in his mind, Abraham might think that even if he lost Isaac, he would still have a son in Ishmael. If this is the case, the offering up of Isaac would require less faith and have less meaning. Regardless, the disobedience of Abraham and Sarah in the first place was a sin which years later brought disharmony into their home. Sin is ugly and often leaves scars.