The Promise of God was Hard to Believe
Although Abraham obeyed God, it was difficult for him to trust God perfectly. This is because the promises God made to Abraham were hard to believe.
Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was very old. She had no children. How could Abraham’s descendants1 become many, when he had no children of his own?
The Birth of Ishmael
Sarah thought she could never have a son. So Sarah asked Abraham to have a child by her servant Hagar. Abraham accepted Sarah’s advice. Soon Hagar gave birth to a son called Ishmael.
God promised to bless the descendants of Ishmael. God said that Ishmael would become a mighty nation.
The blessing of God was upon the boy Ishmael. The Taurat says, “God was with the boy” (Genesis 21:20). Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, needed to travel in the desert. They had no water. But an angel saved them by showing Hagar a well of water (Genesis 21:14-21). This showed that God loved Ishmael and cared for him.
14 Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar some food and a leather bag full of water. He put the child on her back and sent her away. She left and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water was all gone, she left the child under a bush 16 and sat down about a hundred yards away. She said to herself, “I can’t bear to see my child die.” While she was sitting there, she began to cry.
17 God heard the boy crying, and from heaven the angel of God spoke to Hagar, “What are you troubled about, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy crying. 18 Get up, go and pick him up, and comfort him. I will make a great nation out of his descendants.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went and filled the leather bag with water and gave some to the boy. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up; he lived in the wilderness of Paran and became a skillful hunter. 21 His mother got an Egyptian wife for him.