The persecution of Christians is growing both around the world and in our own nation: verbal persecution, physical persecution, financial persecution, media persecution, political persecution, judicial persecution, academic persecution, online persecution, and corporate persecution. It’s why Al Mohler has called his most recent book, The Gathering Storm. Sometimes we can feel under siege and wonder if we will survive, or if our children will survive, or if the church will survive.
Genesis 21:8-14 has a sobering yet encouraging message for us. It reminds us of the inevitability of persecutors, but also of the invincibility of the persecuted.
CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE WILL BE PERSECUTED
- Children of God’s promise rejoice in God (8): As we’ve seen in the past couple of podcasts, there’s been a ton of joy and laughter in this home recently. They celebrate the child of promise, the one chosen by God, through whom the world would be blessed.
- Children of the human effort hate God (9): Ishmael abused Isaac verbally and physically, illustrating what all children of the promise can expect in their lives (Gal. 4:29).
When God’s children rejoice, God’s enemies rage. God’s blessing rejoices his children but enrages his enemies.
How will infant Isaac survive this Satanic onslaught?
CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE WILL BE PROTECTED
- Sarah protects the child of promise (10-11): Sarah saw the spiritual jeopardy, the spiritual danger. This was not just bullying; this was the seed of the serpent trying to extinguish the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15)
- God protects the child of promise (12): Abraham was reluctant to go so far as to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, but God said, “Yes, this is necessary for the protection and salvation of the children of promise.” God promised to look after Ishmael (13), but he had to separate the child of promise from the child of human effort so that there would be more children of promise (Gal. 4:30).
The seed of the serpent launched an all-out assault on the seed of the woman, but God kept his promise to the children of the promise. Ishmael said to Isaac, “You will be extinguished,” but God said to Ishmael, “You will be exiled.”
When Satan bites and bruises your heel, remember you will crush and crunch his head (Rom. 16:20)
LIVING THE BIBLE
Make sure you’re a winner not a loser. Make sure you are on the winning side, not the losing one. There are only two teams: children of the flesh and children of the promise; those who are trying to be saved by human muscle and those who are being saved by God’s muscle. This passage warns us that if our hope of salvation is in God’s muscle, we will suffer at the hands of human muscles (and mouths). But it also encourages that God’s muscle and mouth are far greater than any amount of human muscles and mouths. Take shelter in God’s promise in the gathering storm.
This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 5: Day 2 in Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcast.