I want to preach this morning on the story of Hagar and it starts out in Genesis 16 where we're reading. This story is a really interesting story. There is so much that we can learn from it. I think it's an often misunderstood story. I know that I've grown up in church my entire life since I was really born. I've been in Baptist churches and the only time I've missed was when I was sick pretty much my entire life. I haven't really heard a lot of sermons about Hagar and about Ishmael. Usually the focus is upon Abram and the fact that he had that lapse in faith, and that Sara and Abram made this bad decision of Abraham having a child with Hagar. I want to look at it more from the perspective of Hagar herself, because it's a really interesting story and there's a lot that we can learn from her perspective.
Let's start out in verse number one here. It says "Now Sarai, Abram's wife bare him no children. She had an handmaid, an Egyptian whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, behold now the Lord hath restrained me from bearing. I pray thee, go in unto my maid. It may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar and she conceived" and so on.
So obviously, God had promised Abram that he's going to have many children. He's going to be the father of many nations. We look at this story and we think about the fact that okay, Abram is 85 years old. That means his wife is 75. He's to the point where he believes that there's no way that his wife is going to give birth to a child at that age, at 75 years old. It's just not going to happen. They start to doubt God's word and say, well maybe God wants us to do this. Maybe God wants you to have a child by my maid instead. Obviously that wasn't God's will.
We know that it's God's will for man to be faithful to his wife and that they two shall be one flesh, and that polygamy is unscriptural. Taking another concubine is unscriptural. But they thought that perhaps God wants us to do this. What you have to think about is that although it might seem reasonable for them to think this when she is 75 years old. You remember that the promise that Abram would be made into a great nation was contingent upon the fact that he would leave his father's house, that he would leave the land of his nativity, and go into the land of Canaan.
When Abram was in the land of Canaan, he was ... I'm sorry, when he was in the land of Haran and in the land of Ur of the Chaldees, he was 75 years old at that time. His wife was 65. So he already had a wife that was barren. He already had a wife that wasn't having children, and he's only been in Canaan for ten years when his wife begins to give up on the promises of God. They've only been waiting there for ten years in the land of Canaan. After ten years they do this thing where he takes her maid, and he has ... He basically gets her pregnant. She becomes a second wife or a concubine as it were. Basically as soon as she finds out that she's pregnant she begins to despise Sarai.
Look what the bible says in verse number four. It says "And he went in unto Hagar and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." You say, well why would she despise Sarai? Because of the fact that now she's pregnant with this child, and she has all this affection and feelings for this child that's in her stomach, and she knows this is not going to be her child. Basically, she's going to give birth to this child, and it's going to be raised by Abraham and Sarah as their child. Because this is her having a child basically by proxy for Sarai. That makes her bitter and angry toward Sarah and so she despises Sarai.
It says in verse number five, "And Sarai said unto Abraham, my wrong be upon thee. I have given my maiden to thy bosom and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between me and thee." Here she goes to Abraham and says basically, hey this was a bad idea Abraham. I'm sorry that I thought of it. Because now that she's pregnant, she's angry at me. She despises me, and there's all this strife as a result. She says the Lord judge between me and thee to Abraham, saying I'm sorry that I've caused you all these problems by coming up with this stupid idea.
Verse six it says, "But Abram said unto Sarai, behold thy maid is in thy hand. Do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face." By the way, let me just say this. People will sometimes try to say that The Bible condones of polygamy. The Mormons have taught that, and a lot of other religions like Islam teach that polygamy is something that God is okay with. But every single time in The Bible, there's any instance of anybody having more than one wife, or having a concubine, it's always a bad situation every time.
Show me one happy polygamist family in this whole book. Sure, The Bible records people having multiple wives. It also records people murdering, and stealing, and doing all kinds of other wrong things. But show me one where it was harmonious. Show me one where it turned out in a good way. Of course this is no exception.
Sarai dealt hardly with her. It says in verse seven, "And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain and the way it is sure. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid. Whence comest though, and wither wilt though go? And she said I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. The angel of the Lord said unto her, return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her. Behold, thou are with child and shall bear a son and shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
You have to get this picture here. The Bible says that Sarai dealt hardly with Hagar. Down in verse eleven, the word affliction is used. When he's ... God has heard of your affliction. Sarai begins to afflict Hagar or deal hardly with her. Basically, the fact that her maid is being disrespectful to her is something that she's going to crack down on. She's going to fix it, and she begins to treat her very harshly. We don't know exactly what that treatment was, because The Bible isn't that specific. Whatever it was, it was so harsh that it caused her to flee into the wilderness. She escaped, she leaves. I don't know if basically, she's basically whipping her, or if she's just verbally, or giving her horrible work to do. Whatever she's doing to the maid, she's treating her very badly. Really she's being treated unfairly in this whole process if you think about it.
But yet, God says to her in verse nine, the angel of the Lord said unto her, return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands. Now, what's interesting about this is that in chapter 21, we know how this story is going to end up. We have the luxury of sitting back and knowing the entire story. Hagar doesn't know the whole story. But we know that in chapter 21, she's going to be kicked out of that house permanently and she's going to be sent back to the wilderness, just like she's in the wilderness right now.
We know that Hagar is going to be cast out, and Ishmael are going to be cast out in chapter 21, once Isaac is born. So you have to wonder, why is God telling her go back? When eventually God is going to have her kicked out in chapter 21? Why is God saying go back, submit yourself, go through the affliction? Go through the harsh treatment that Sarai is giving you, and I'm going to make of you a great nation, and you're going to give birth to this son Ishmael who is going to make a great nation. Why is she being told to go back?
God knew that if she goes back and submits herself unto Sarai, that that child is going to grow up in the home of Abraham. That child Ishmael is going to be raised by Abraham. He's going to be taught the things of God, he's going to get a godly upbringing from Abraham. Yes, eventually they're going to be kicked out, but only after being raised by Abraham until he's a teenager. God wanted Ishmael to have that righteous upbringing so he that he could grow up and be a good man, a godly man. To grow up learning of the Lord.
Now, a lot of people have this false idea that Ishmael was a bad guy, and I'm going to prove to you from scripture in this sermon that Ishmael was not a bad guy. Ishmael was a godly man and Ishmael will be in heaven. I will prove to you that Ishmael will be in heaven from scripture. Now, just because Ishmael was born from a sinful union between Abram and Hagar, that's not Ishmael's fault. He's just a baby that's just born into this world. Yes, he had to deal with the curse associated with that, but he still actually grew up and the Lord was with him The Bible says.
Now, what I want to point out first of all about Hagar is that Hagar does something difficult here when she goes back and submits herself unto Sarai's harsh treatment and goes back and humbles herself and obeys and does what she's supposed to do. But the result of that is that her son gets a godly upbringing and eventually God makes her son into a great man and a great nation.
Now if you would flip over to 1 Peter chapter 2, 1 Peter chapter 2. The first thing that we can learn from this story is that there are times in our life where we have to submit ourselves unto authorities in our life. God ordained authorities in our life, even when those authorities are not treating us the way that we want to be treated. If you think about it, Hagar is not being treated very well. She's a bond maid, so she doesn't have any freedom. Then she's put in this situation where she's going to carry a child for Abram and Sarai. She resents that, and then now she's being treated harshly and afflicted and chased out into the wilderness.
But yet, The Bible teaches us that we need to obey the legitimate authorities in our life and submit ourselves unto them, and that if we submit ourselves unto those authorities that God will bless us for doing that. Just like he told Hagar, he said "Look, if you go back and you submit yourself unto Sarai, I am going to multiply your seed exceedingly. I am going to bless you Hagar, and I am going to make you a great nation."
Now, look what The Bible says in 1 Peter, chapter 2, verse 18. It says servants be subject to your masters with all fear. Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thank worthy if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering, wrongfully. The Bible teaches right here in 1 Peter, chapter 2 that servants are not only supposed to obey their masters when they have a good master, a godly master, a righteous master, a gentle master. But that servants are supposed to even obey their masters even if the master if a froward master. Even if they are treating you harshly such as Hagar was treated by Sarai. The Bible says that when God sees you suffering wrongfully for your conscience toward God, and you are enduring grief, The Bible says that is thank worthy. God is going to bless you for that.
You remember when Jacob was mistreated by Laban, and Laban was his boss or his master at that time. He had to serve Laban for those fourteen years for his daughters and God said, I've seen what Laban is doing to you. He said, I'm going to bless you because you've submitted and obeyed and done right. See, we in the New Testament also have legitimate authorities that we're supposed to be subject unto.
For example, children are supposed to obey their parents. The bible says children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. You say, well I just don't feel like my parents are treating me fairly. My parents just deal hardly with me. Or, my parents are afflicting me. But you know what? God commands you to obey your parents, and if you obey your parents, God is going to bless you. Even if your parents aren't being what they're supposed to be, you will be blessed as a child for obeying your parents. Because that is a legitimate God given authority in your life that he commands you to obey.
Not only that, but God does tell servants to obey their masters. Now obviously, today we don't necessarily use the word servant very much, but really when you have an employee and you have the boss at work, there's a similar relationship there. It's not a bond servant, but it is a servant nonetheless. You're still serving. You don't just go to work and make your own rules and do what you want to do. When you go to work, there are rules. You're clocking in, you're clocking out. You have somebody that you answer to and say yes sir and yes ma'am, and you do what you're told at your job. They make the rules. They have the power to fire you or to promote you and exalt you, depending on how you do.
The Bible says servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh. It says not with eye service as men pleasers, he says but as the servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart with good will doing service as to the Lord and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall they receive of the Lord whether he be bond or free. God is telling us, you're going to be blessed when you obey your parents. You're going to be blessed when you obey your master. When you go to work and obey the boss and do what you're supposed to do.
Now flip over to 1 Peter, chapter 3. You're in chapter 2, there's another scripture about wives obeying their husbands, and again this is something that God commands in both New and Old Testament. That wives submit unto their husbands and be subject unto their husbands. It says in verse 5 of 1 Peter, 3: "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also who trusted in God adorned themselves being in subjection unto their own husbands." Now, notice it says that the reason that they were subject unto their own husbands is because they trusted in God. They believed that God was going to bless them for submitting to their husband, because that was what he commanded them to do. The path to God's blessing is through the door of obedience. They trusted in God, they were subject unto their own husbands, it says in verse six, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord whose daughters ye are as long as ye do well and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered." Now look, isn't The Bible here commanding the husband to give honor unto his wife?
Pastor: Be respectful to his wife? Okay. Doesn't The Bible elsewhere command the husband to love your wives as Christ loved the church? But here's the thing though. Just because your husband isn't doing things the way that he's supposed to according to scripture, you're still supposed to submit yourself unto your husband. You can't just sit there and say, "Well I'll start submitting to my husband when he starts doing right." When he starts loving me like Christ loved the church, when he starts to give honor unto me as unto the weaker vessel, when he ... No! You obey your husband and submit to your husband, because you're trusting in the Lord.
Church: [inaudible 00:15:58]
Pastor: Because the Lord is the reason why you obey your husband. The Lord is the reason why you obey your parents. The Lord is why you go to work and you do a good job. Well I'm not going to work hard for these people, because they don't pay me much and they treat me ... No, you do your work as unto the Lord.
Church: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Pastor: And God will bless you for doing your work as unto the Lord. Look, here Hagar is in a situation that's a bad situation. No little girl dreams about how she wants to just grow up and be the second wife or the concubine, I want to grow up and be a bond maid. Then I want to be the second wife or concubine of this guy. It's not exactly a picture perfect situation is it? But God says you know what?
In your situation though, I'm going to bless you when you do what's right and when you obey me. I'm telling you to go back and submit yourself unto your master, unto your mistress Sarai, and obey her and submit to her, and I'll bless you, I'll make you a great nation. Your son is going to be a great man, but you have to obey. Because if she doesn't go back there, that son's not going to be raised by Abraham. He's going to be raised by some Egyptian, who knows who he's going to be raised by. So it was much more expedient for her that she would obey the Lord, go back, and be blessed for doing so.
Legitimate authorities in our life? Parents for children, husbands for wives, your boss at work, and also human government within boundaries. I'm not one of these that teaches, "Hey, we just obey the government no matter what." Because we today have a government that is completely out of bounds. If you would flip back to Genesis 16 while I explain this. Our government today is completely out of bounds. It's getting to the point where our government is more and more illegitimate every day.
Pastor: We have a government today that is not following the law of the land. We have a law of the land supposedly that's the supreme authority of our land which is the Constitution of the United States. I'm not saying that the constitution is a godly document, I'm saying it's perfect, but I will say this: It is the law of the land. God has blessed us to allow us to be born into a land where we do have freedom that wasn't given to us by government by the way. Our freedom comes from the Lord himself. God has given us our freedom and our liberty. People are going to celebrate the Fourth of July this Friday and they're celebrating the Declaration of Independence because of the freedom and the liberty that we have. In that document it says that our freedoms are endowed on us by the creator.
Pastor: It said people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That is what the authors and signers of that document believed. They believed, "Hey, we have freedoms that come from God, and we can't just let government just keep encroaching upon our freedom and totally enslave us from across the ocean." We today have a government that is abusive and that is enslaving us once again hundreds of years later, here we are again being enslaved by people that are thousands and thousands of miles away just like they were. We're in a similar situation.
What you have to understand is that the constitution is the law of the land. The Bible does tell us to obey the law, to basically submit ourselves unto the powers that be. The problem is today, we have a criminal government that is not following the laws of the land. It's not even really legitimate if you think about it. If we have a law on the books that says X and then we have these thugs and criminals and gangsters that just say, "Well we don't care what that law says, this is what we're going to do."
Well then at that point, are we obligated as Christians to obey every criminal gangster and thug who claims to be upholding the law or claims to be enforcing the law of the United States of America. For example, when you have a government that's telling you, "Hey, you can't give birth at home. You've got to go to the hospital and tested for STDs and you've got to go through all of these things." That monogamous people just don't need. We just don't need a syphilis test with every pregnancy.
Church: Yeah. Right.
Pastor: You know what I mean? My wife and I just don't need another syphilis test. It's like they want us to have one with every child. It's like, no thanks, no thanks. Because we are keeping ourselves pure and faithful to one another, we don't need to keep testing for STDs okay? The government tells you you've got to have all of this testing, you've got to give birth in the hospital, you can't give birth at home. You can't drink raw milk. If the government ... Listen to me now, if the government makes a law against drinking raw milk, I don't believe that we as Christians have to obey that law. Because God has told us that he has given us those things. He has freely given us the plants to eat and he's given us the seeds, and he's given us the fruit. He's given us all of these meats and things. He's given us dairy to eat. When a government is telling you "Hey, you can't drink raw milk. Hey, you can't give birth at home. Hey, you can't name your kid this or name your kid that." At that point, the government is way out of bounds.
Church: [inaudible 00:21:24]
Pastor: When the government is forcing you to have medical procedures done that you don't believe in, or forcing you to pay for stuff that you don't believe in. None of it's even legitimate. For example, the President of the United States has declared that the month of June would be a month to exalt sodomy.
Church: No way.
Pastor: Yes. Literally if you read ... Look, this isn't some conspiracy theory. Go to whitehouse.gov. That's where it's found. He says I, Barack Obama the President of the United States, and he literally says this: "With the power that's been invested in me by the United States Constitution, do hereby declare the month of June to be lesbian, gay, transgender, queer month. I mean, can you really respect that government anymore? You look at that and you say, which article of the Constitution is that again?
Church: [inaudible 00:22:18] Right.
Pastor: I know that the president was supposed to be able to announce days of prayer. I guess that's that part of the Constitution that they're using. Where the president's allowed to ... He's allowed to make a day of fasting or a day of prayer? No, it's not prayer and fasting my friend. Now it's sodomy and perversion that's being exalted today by our government and by our leaders. Don't misunderstand me when I say, "Hey we should obey." Obviously we should obey our parents, The Bible says in all things. Supposed to obey your husband in all things. You're supposed to obey your boss at work, not necessarily in all things, but within the scope of your job obviously.
With the government, within the scope of what they're actually supposed to be governing, which The Bible teaches in Romans 13 is evildoers. They're supposed to be punishing criminals basically. People who steal and murder and do things like that. Should we obey our human government? We should obey it when it comes to, we shouldn't be stealing, we shouldn't be trespassing other people's property. We shouldn't be violating laws and harming other people and doing things, but there is a limit to the government's power.
When the Antichrist comes into power, we're not going to have to obey him. When Adolf Hitler is in power, and when Stalin is in power, then it becomes a situation where the government is out of bounds, they're out of control. They're not operating under the authority that's been given them by the Lord. They've actually been given their power by Satan. That's what The Bible teaches. I don't want to get into a big thing on that.
That was the extent of my July 4th aspect of my sermon. Because it's the Fourth of July later this week. That was the extent of that. I just want to say this though. We don't want to just get an attitude that says hey, we just never obey the government. Because there are some legitimate things we should obey the government, but it's the scope that they're supposed to be managing. Not, "Hey, turn in your guns. Hey, drop that glass of raw milk. Hey ... " That's a government that's out of bounds, okay? No, I don't believe that it's our job to just prop up and promote and just facilitate our own enslavement, okay?
Back to Genesis 16. She's told, hey go back and submit yourself unto Sarai. She goes back and does it. Now God gives her this blessing. He says in verse number 10, "And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude." Now that's quite a blessing. That's quite a promise. It says "And the angel of the Lord said unto her, behold thou art with child and shall bear a son and shall call his name Ishmael because the Lord hath heard thy affliction."
Verse 12: "And he will be a wild man." She might as well have just said, you're having a boy. They're all wild, right? He'll be a wild man and "His hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him, and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, thou God seest me, for she said, have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold it is between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bare Abram a son.
Now the second thing I want to point out is that not only was she told to go back and submit herself unto Sarai and put up the harsh treatment, because God's going to bless her for her obedience unto him. The second thing I wanted to point out is that God cares about all of us and he loves us, and even the people the people who aren't the important people. You think of this story and who are the important characters in Genesis? Abraham and Sarah are the important characters. They're the ones that matter.
Hagar said you know what, God seeth me. God cares about me. God sees me out in the wilderness. He sees my affliction. He sees me suffering. Maybe your life today doesn't read like a fairy tale. Maybe your life today isn't exactly an Abraham type of story where you're the hero, and you're the main character, and everything is going your way and God's blessing you. Hagar is living a messed up life, but God still saw her. God still cared about her. He still loved her. He said blessings are available to you if you'll obey. If you'll obey me. If you'll believe my word and trust me, you'll be blessed. This shows us that even in an Egyptian, and the Egyptians weren't exactly a nation being blessed by God either, were they?
Pastor: No. But yet, even an Egyptian who obeys the Lord and trusts God, and serves him can be blessed in a huge way. Blessed so much that she would have a great son that would rise up and be a great man that she could be proud of, and there would be a great multitude of nations. God says to her, I see you. I know what you're going through. I'm going to bless you if you obey. That's encouraging to people maybe if their life isn't going exactly the way they want it to go. God still has promises for them. God still has blessings for them. You know, and no matter who you are, God sees you. Don't think to yourself, well God cares about Pastor Anderson. God cares about brother so and so and sister so and so because they're doing all this and they have all this, and they live the picture perfect life. God cares about you too. God has a plan for your life. Maybe you're like the woman at the well. You've been divorced five times and your life hasn't exactly followed the exact narrative that you expected that it would. God still used the woman at the well.
Pastor: God can use you no matter what your life situation, no matter what your past is like. No matter what nationality you are, no matter what your parents and grandparents were like. God often takes people that you wouldn't expect and uses them in a great way. For example, even one of his disciples was Simon the Canaanite. Remember the Canaanites were a cursed nation. That doesn't mean that a Canaanite can't obey God, love God, serve God, and not only just be a Christian, not only just be saved, not only just serve the Lord, but to be one of the top twelve. To be an elite member of that first group that the Lord Jesus Christ had on this earth. Simon the Canaanite shows us that. Hagar is another one that shows us that.
She goes back, and in verse 15 it says, "Hagar bare Abram a son and Abram called his son's name which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was four score and six years old when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram." Now that's in chapter 16. Let's jump forward to chapter 17. Let's pick up the story, it says "When Abram was 90 years old and nine." So approximately how old is Ishmael now? He was 86 when ... Abram was 86 when he was born. Now Abram's 99, so he's about thirteen, right? Ishmael's about thirteen. We haven't heard from God in between. It says in verse 1 "When Abram was 90 years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said unto him, I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect." Basically explain how Sarah's going to have a son, and how God did not forget his promise, and that there's going to be another son born unto Abram from his wife Sarah.
It says in verse number 18, "And Abraham said unto God, Oh that Ishmael might live before thee." Basically Abram here is praying for his son Ishmael. He loves his son Ishmael. God's telling him no, you're going to have another son with your actual legitimate wife. Abraham says to God, well oh that Ishmael might live before thee. What about Ishmael? I wish you'd bless Ishmael. Look what God says in verse 19. God said, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed and thou shalt call his name Isaac. And I will establish my covenant with them for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee. Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee in this said time in the next year." He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham, and Abraham took Ishmael his son and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abram's house and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the self same day as God had said unto him. Abraham was 90 years old and nine when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin and so on and so forth.
Go to chapter 21. Chapter 21. We're going to jump forward a year in time. Now that we jump forward a year in time, basically Ishmael is how old now?
Pastor: He's a fourteen-year-old boy at this time. In chapter 21 it says in verse 5, Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said God hath made me to laugh so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said who would have said unto Abram that Sarah should have given children suck, for I have borne him a son in his old age. And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
Here Abraham is now, he's 100 years old, his wife is 90. Yet, God allows her to miraculously give birth. Now, 90 year olds back then weren't like 90 year olds today. Obviously 90 is old, but remember back then, people are living to be sometimes 170, 180 years old. You have to adjust and realize that people were not aging as rapidly thousands of years ago as they are now. When you look at somebody being 90 years old, maybe today the equivalent would be more like 60 or 70 or something, whatever the equivalent is. Either way it was a miracle. If a 65-year-old woman were giving birth today, we'd be pretty impressed by that. We'd think that was pretty amazing.
Here she is, she's 90 years old and she has this child, and The Bible says she weaned the child. When she weaned the child they made a big feast. At this feast, Ishmael who is how old? Well, we don't know exactly how old, but let's think about this. How old is a child when her mother weans them? Now, I know that I've had eight children, and all of our eight children have been exclusively breast fed as babies. Then obviously as they get older, you introduce solids and you do away with the breastfeeding. That's called weaning. When you stop the child from nursing and it begins to eat solid food instead of nursing, that means that the child is weaned, okay? Now when they're eating both, they're still not weaned. Weaned is when they're done breastfeeding.
I know this, all of our children have been weaned at approximately 15 to 18 months. Is that about right? [inaudible 00:33:04] Fifteen to 18 months. We're looking at between a year and a year and a half old, and the child is weaned. There are a lot of weird teachings about this out there. First of all, there's a weird trendy movement out there today called attachment parenting, and it's a wicked movement because it teaches that spanking your kids is wrong. Look, what does The Bible say?
Pastor: The Bible is really strong that we should spank our children. This is a wicked movement, but part of this bizarre movement is also that people will breastfeed their kids until they're like four or five years old. Now that's pretty weird. When your child is standing up to breast feed, you're breastfeeding too long. When they're talking to you about it and everything, okay? The bottom line is, this weird movement is out there. Here's the thing, when I was in Christian school, when I grew up at Christian school, here's what they taught us. They said, back in Bible days, they would breastfeed until a child was about seven years old. Now, I don't know where in the world they're getting this, because that's not in The Bible.
You go to these Bible colleges and Christian schools and you read commentaries and Bible encyclopedias and Bible dictionaries and they are filled with nonsense like that, with garbage like that. This is why I'm always warning people. Stay away from the commentaries. Stay away from the Bible dictionary. Stay away from the Bible encyclopedia. They are just making things up and this is what they tell you, "Oh, Pastor Anderson, you don't understand the Bible because you need to know the culture in which the Bible was written. You need to know the history and the cultural context." But you know what The Bible says, that I don't need any man to teach me, that all I need is the word of God and the Holy Spirit. I don't need man to teach me The Bible. If I have to go to some historical or contextual source, then that would mean I need man to teach me to understand The Bible. Now look, you're sitting here listening to a man teach you The Bible. Let me tell you something, there's nothing that I'm teaching you this morning that you couldn't learn on your own.
Pastor: You could study the story of Hagar and Ishmael, and you could find all these things on your own. You don't need man to teach you. You say, well then why are we here? You're here, because God commands you to be in church. God commands you to come to church, that's why you're here. Hearing preaching can help you learn more, but there's no special doctrine. Don't expect me to pull out some special doctrine that's different than what you can get on your own. If I come out with something that you can only hear from me, that you can't get on your own, then it's a lie.
Pastor: Because everything that God has for you is in this book, and the Holy Spirit can teach it to you.
Church: Right. Amen.
Pastor: Now you can learn more by coming to church, but nothing I teach you is unique to me. It's all Biblical. It's all from the Holy Ghost. These people that tell you, "Oh, you need all these tools. You need encyclopedias, and commentaries, and study bibles." They're trying to lead you astray is what they're doing. This idea that people breastfed their kid until they were seven is just a lie and a fraud. First of all it's just weird. Look at your seven year old. You're not going to breastfeed this child, it just doesn't make any sense. It seems there's a sucker born every minute, no pun intended, and they believe that they can just get you to just fall for any of this stuff. You say, well prove it wrong from The Bible. Let me prove it wrong from The Bible. This story proves it wrong.
Pastor: Because based upon this story, when is Ishmael thrown out of the house? When Isaac's weaned. How old is he when Isaac's born? Fourteen. Ishmael, get the picture now. Ishmael is a fourteen-year-old boy when Isaac is born, and when Isaac is weaned, he and Hagar are kicked out of the house, because of the fact that at that feast Ishmael begins to mock Isaac. That doesn't seem that out of the ordinary for somebody to tease their younger sibling. Does anybody have kids? Do they ever tease a younger sibling.
That's what's happening. But Sarah gets real touchy about it and says "Oh man, I don't want my son to grow up with Ishmael. I don't want this bond woman's son to sit there and mock my son. Get him out of here, we don't need him. Get him out of here." Hagar and Ishmael are thrown out. Here's the thing, if we go down in the story, let's read the story and we can get an idea of how old Ishmael was when this took place.
It says in verse 12 God said unto Abram, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad and because of the bond woman and all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice. For in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also the son of the bond woman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and a bottle of water and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child and sent her away and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba."
"The water was spent in the bottle," watch this, "And she cast the child under one of the shrubs and she went and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot, for she said let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him and lift up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said unto her, what aileth thee Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him in thine hand. For I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad to drink. And God was with the lad."
And he what? He grew. Now is this a fully grown man? No, he's called a child, he's called a lad, and it says he grew. After this event takes place, where he has kind of a near death experience. You've got to figure Hagar and Ishmael, they bring food and water, but they're wandering in the wilderness. They don't really find a place. They wander and they wander and they wander. They don't find a good place to settle. They don't find anybody to dwell with, and so they get to a point where the water runs out. Basically this boy Ishmael collapses from dehydration. He just can't walk anymore. They're wandering in the wilderness and he just collapses, he's done. Basically his mom's upset, so she basically throws him in the bushes, because she doesn't want to see him die. She thinks this boy is going to die. She casts him into the brush and just walks away and says, I don't want to watch him die.
Then of course God intercedes and tells her, I've heard the voice of the lad, I've heard his prayers. It says in verse 19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the bottle water and gave the lad to drink, and she saves his life, okay? What I'm trying to show you is, that he's not a fully grown man when this happens. If you think about it, if we go by the normal logical interpretation based on everything we've ever known in our lives, that everyone that we've ever known weaned their child between the ages of one and two. Does anybody ever known somebody who was breastfeeding a five-year-old? No, but we know from our lives that children are weaned at age one or two, or between one and two. By the time they're two, they're pretty much weaned.
Well then it makes sense if we're looking at a 15-year-old boy. I know when I was a 15-year-old boy, I wasn't fully grown. When I was 15-years-old, I was a skinny young boy. I was not fully grown, and you could see this lad fainting from the heat as a 15-year-old scrawny boy. He collapses, his mom throws him in the bushes and expects him to die, but then it would say, hey he grew. Whereas, if he's 18, 19 years old, he'd be throwing her in the bushes if anything probably. Number one, and number two if he's 18 or 19 years old, you wouldn't be saying he grew. What's he going to grow, a half inch? A quarter inch? From the time that he's 18, 19, to the time he's 21 or something? He's going to grow another half inch.
He obviously was not even close to being fully grown, and again this just disproves the stupidity of saying, "Hey, you know, they're weaning at age seven." Well, then I guess he's 21 when his mom's throwing him in the brush? It just doesn't make sense. People will say, "Well, but Pastor Anderson, in other cultures of the world, they breastfeed until kids are three or four." But it's always some weird place. Show me a civilized Christian nation. Show me a Christian place or a civilized place where people are breastfeeding their five-year-old. You're not going to find it. Civilized Christian places, they wean them during age one.
Like my wife, 15 to 18 months. That's pretty normal. When you have a whole mouth full of sharp teeth, and guess what? They start ripping the food off the plate and eating it. Even a baby will start to reach out and grab the french fries and food off the plate. They lose interest in breastfeeding. They get to the point where they don't want that anymore. They don't care. That's why The Bible says everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteous for he is a babe. There you go, The Bible says breastfeeding is for babies. Again, when Jesus was a baby and he was visited by the shepherds, it says they found the babe with his mother? But then two years later when the wise men showed up, it says they saw the young child with his mother. A two-year-old is a young child. A babe is younger than that. A babe is someone who is one year old. I just wanted to point that out about that.
Let me just finish up the story here. It says that the lad grew, verse 20. "God was with the lad, and he grew and his mother took him a wife" ... I'm sorry, "He grew and dwelt in the wilderness and became an archer." Now what's an archer? Somebody who shoots bow and arrow, right? God was with the lad, he grew, he dwelt in the wilderness, became an archer, he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. Obviously because she's from Egypt, she gets him a wife out of Egypt.
Last place we're going to turn is Genesis 25. Genesis chapter 25. It says in Genesis 25 verse 8, "Then Abraham gave up the ghost and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years." I want you to watch this phrase about Abraham, "And was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried in the cave of Machpelah in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre." So Ishmael was at the funeral and helped to bury his father Abraham.
It says in verse number 11, "It came to pass after the death of Abraham that God blessed his son Isaac, and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi. Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid bare unto Abraham. And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael by their names according to their generations. And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, 15Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: 16These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died" Watch this, "And was gathered unto his people."
Now that phrase gathered unto his people, this is who The Bible uses that phrase about. They use that phrase about Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron. That's not a phrase that you would use about an unsaved man. You're not going to say, "He was gathered unto his people" if he went to hell. That's not being gathered unto his people, is it? But do we know Abraham was saved? Was Isaac saved? Was Jacob saved? Was Moses saved? Was Aaron saved? Why would anybody think that Ishmael's not saved when The Bible is telling us clearly that Ishmael was gathered unto his people.
Now, is there anything negative said about Ishmael in The Bible? Was he a bad guy? Was he an evil guy? Was he a wicked man? Was he a son that you wouldn't be proud of? Well, here's the thing in Galatians 4, we're not going to turn there for sake of time, but in Galatians 4, The Bible says that the story of Hagar is an allegory and that it is symbolic, and that Hagar represents the Old Testament, with Mount Sinai, and Moses, and the law. It says Hagar represents the Old Testament, and that Sarah represents the New Testament and that the son of the bond maid, meaning Ishmael represents the physical Jews, because they were the physical descendants of Abraham. If we found somebody today who were the so called Jews, they'd say "Hey, we are physically descended from Abraham."
Then if we have those who are saved, they would be the spiritual descendents of Abraham. Because The Bible says if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. God says in Galatians 4, there's a symbolic thing going on here that basically the Jews today that don't believe on Christ, they're like Ishmael. They're the physical son, but God specifically said about Ishmael, my covenant is not with Ishmael. Now it doesn't mean Ishmael's a bad guy, it doesn't mean that he doesn't love Ishmael. It doesn't mean that Ishmael's not going to be a great nation. He just said my covenant's not with Ishmael, my covenant's with Isaac. I have a special covenant, it was the old covenant, the Old Testament. He said, I have a covenant with Isaac, okay? My covenant's not with Ishmael.
What's The Bible saying? The Bible is saying that today's so called Jews in Israel today or in America, they're like the sons of Ishmael spiritually. Because yes, they're physically of Abraham, but they're not part of the covenant. Which covenant? The new covenant, also known as what? The New Testament. Look, in the New Testament, the Jews are not God's people in the New Testament. They're physical children, but they're not of the New Testament. They're not ... By the way the Old Testament is no longer in effect, so they're just out in the cold. I already preached on that a few weeks ago.
So what we see is that Ishmael represents the Jews and that Isaac represents the Christians, in Galatians 4. Christians are the promised spiritual seed of Abraham. Christians are represented by Isaac and Jews are represented by Ishmael. Here's the thing, just because it's symbolic, doesn't make Ishmael himself a bad guy. Just because he symbolizes something, just because him being thrown out of the house symbolizes God casting the Jews out of the kingdom. Remember, the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. Remember the kingdom of God is taken from them. That's what Ishmael represented.
Look, has there been any evidence in everything we've read that Ishmael was a bad guy? In fact the opposite, Ishmael was a good guy. The only thing about Ishmael that you could even slightly say could be negative, is it said hey, he's going to be a wild man. He's going to have a lot of strife with other people, but again, that doesn't mean that he's ... I've known people like that. I'm kind of like that. No, I'm just kidding. It doesn't mean he's just a horrible guy just because he's a wild man. He's living out in the wilderness, he's firing his bow and arrow. He's just kind of a wild guy.
Then the only other thing that you could say is even slightly negative about him is that, okay when he was fourteen he mocked his younger brother. When are you going to let him live that down, you know what I mean? I mean he's fourteen, he teased his one-year-old brother when he was fourteen. Let it go. Don't bring that up when you see Ishmael in heaven, what was that about? Why you so wild buddy? Calm down.
Think about all the positive things God said about Ishmael. God said, I've blessed him. Just listen to the word of God. This is what God said about Ishmael. I've blessed him. I'm going to make him fruitful. I'm going to multiply him exceedingly, I'll make him a great nation. Later in chapter 21 he said that he heard his voice when he called unto him. He said I've heard his voice. He said again, I'll make him a great nation, and in Genesis 21:20, The Bible says God was with the Lad and he grew. Then when we get to the end of his life, it says that he died at age 137. Now who here would like to live to be 137? That's great, I mean that's a blessing when you live to be 137. That's a good old age to live unto. He lived to be 137 years old. He had twelve children, Twelve sons. Is that a blessing?
Church: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Pastor: Not only did he have twelve sons, all of his twelve sons were princes. All of his twelve sons were successful, mighty, powerful men. He was a mighty powerful man. His sons were mighty powerful men. He had the Lord with him, he died in a good old age. Don't get mixed up about Ishmael, that oh man, Ishmael's a bad guy. Nobody names their kid Ishmael, you know, because he's just a bad guy or something. I guess they don't want the paternity to be questioned or whatever, like he's not a legit child. Honestly, Ishmael was a good guy. He was a godly man.
Now let's just finish out the sermon with this thought. Here's what I think we learn from this whole story. The story's about Hagar more than about Ishmael. Here's Hagar, a woman who is not living a life that people would envy. Nobody wants to be Hagar in this story. She had a hard life. She's a bond maid, then she's given to be this second wife unto Abraham. She bears a child that's not even going to be considered her child. Then that child is raised by Abraham and Sarah for the first fourteen years of his life, and then all of the sudden, it's like, "Okay, he's your son again now." She's kicked out, sent into the wilderness, runs out of food, runs out of water, no money, starving, thirsty, no resources, just her and her fourteen-year-old son, or fifteen-year-old, I'm sorry. He was probably about fifteen by that time. Her and her fifteen-year-old son. I mean that's a rough life.
Not only that, but Sarai treated her badly. That's what The Bible tells us. She dealt hardly with her. But you know what? Through obedience to God's word, and through believing the promises of God, and through just submitting herself under her God given authorities in her life, she was able to end her life as a success. She was able to eventually have a son that would take care of her, a son that would get married and have children, and he would have twelve children that would be her grandchildren that she could be proud of, and she could see them grow up to be ... Which is what every mother wants for their child, that they would grow up and succeed and have the Lord be with them. That's what she had.
I want to let that encourage you today to understand that the path to God's blessing is through the door of obedience. If you want God to bless you in your life, you've got to obey the voice of the Lord. Sometimes that involves trusting the Lord. Where we look at it, and we say, "Well if I obey the voice of the Lord, things are going to go bad for me." It would have been easy for Hagar to say, "No, if I obey and go back, I'm going to get treated like dirt in that house. It's going to be horrible. I'm not going back there. I'm never even going to see this kid. I'm never going to get to raise this kid. It's going to be raised by Sarah." Wasn't that her biggest beef anyway, that it was going to be raised by Sarah? But who ended up with that child in the end? Hagar.
So in the end, do you see how God gave her what she wanted in the end? In the end, she's blessed with her son and he's godly, and he's somebody to be proud of. Sometimes obeying God looks hard. Sometimes it looks like it's not going to turn out right. I'm sure from Hagar's perspective she couldn't see any way that this could possibly turn out right going back. But when she went back and submitted to Sarai, God saw that and he blessed that and he made good on his promises, and she received the promise of God. He said I'm going to multiply you exceedingly, I'm going to make you a great nation. Hagar was multiplied exceedingly and was the mother of a great nation.
These nations were great nations. A lot of people today have this weird idea like, "Hey everybody in the middle east, everybody in the middle east who's not a Jew descended from Ishmael" and the Jews are the only people that descended from Isaac and from Jacob. That's so erroneous it's not even funny. I mean those people are so intermingled by now. They want to paint this picture, all the villains over there. All the villains are the sons of Ishmael, and the good guys are the sons of Isaac. Physically speaking, that's just simply not true.
Pastor: Because first of all, anybody who is anti-Christ is not a good guy.
Church: Yep. Right.
Pastor: The Bible says if you don't believe that Jesus is the Christ, you're anti-Christ. You can't look at the nation of Israel today that does not believe on Christ and say they're good guys. No, they're bad. Because they blaspheme that worthy name by the which you're called. They blaspheme Jesus Christ and call him the bastard son of a Roman soldier. That's what their holy book says the Talmud. If they believe that your Savior is the bastard son of a Roman soldier, they're not good. You know what, many of the Arabs today are actually saved.
Pastor: I mean they're ... Look, are there saved Israelites? Sure. Are there saved Jews? Yeah, and they're God's people. It's not about nationality, folks. Look, I'm here to tell you there are some Ishmaelites over there that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today. You can't just sit there and have this idea. I think that's why people get the story about Ishmael wrong. It's politically motivated, to get this story wrong. Because there's ... Look, show me in The Bible that Ishmael was a bad guy. You can't. He's saved. God's with him. God blessed him. It's politically motivated that Ishmael and everybody descended from him is wicked and evil and let's go nuke them all. When honestly it's not the case.
You know what? First of all, God has made all nations of the earth one blood.
Church: Amen, brother.
Pastor: Even if someone were part of a cursed race or a cursed nation such as the Canaanites, God can still use them. They can still be blessed when they turn to Jesus Christ. Look, I don't even believe that the Ishmaelites were even a cursed people. Show me where the Ishmaelites were cursed by God. In fact, God said I will bless them, and I will bless Ishmael. I am going to be with them. I am going to bless them for being your seed. It's not that God ... God does not hate all the Arabs, and they're all of Ishmael, and they're all wicked. That's a false teaching. That's not a biblical teaching.
We should love those that are Arabs just as much as we would love an Israelite, or red and yellow, black and white. They're just unsaved if they don't believe in Christ. If they believe in Christ, then they're God's chosen people. Okay, but those who aren't saved, you say well "They're Muslim!" Islam is a false religion, but not every Arab person is a Muslim. There are Palestinians over there that are Christians, there are Syrians that are Christians. There are all kinds of Arabs that are Christians. Honestly, Islam is a false religion, but so is Judaism.
Church: Yep. Right.
Pastor: So is Catholicism, and so is Hinduism, and so is Buddhism. We need to love the law and want to see them save. What we can apply to our personal lives from this story is that even if you have a messed up past and a messed up life, God still sees you, and if you obey him, he'll bless you and you can be a big success at the end of your life like Hagar was. If you'll just trust in the Lord and stay on the right path. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, please just help us to learn from this story Lord. I pray that every lady would take Hagar as a godly example of one that did trust your promises, even when things looked bad, she put her faith in you. She called out to you, and believed on you Lord, and you actually blessed her and took care of her. Even though she did go through some hard times and afflictions, Lord, you blessed her in the end. Help every lady that's here to realize that they need to follow that same path of obedience and submission unto your will.
Father, we as men also can learn from this story that we need to obey you and trust you and that we will be blessed if we do so.