Isaac: Sole Heir to the Promises

Genesis 21:12  

But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.”

In this verse, God decreed that the promises would be given to Isaac and his descendants, not Ishmael. Abraham’s two competing heirs would inevitably come into conflict, and Genesis 21 shows that happened when Isaac “grew and was weaned” (verse 8). Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing at Isaac and sternly reminded Abraham that Ishmael was not Abraham’s legitimate heir. Sarah asked Abraham to “cast out” both Hagar and Ishmael (verse 10).

Abraham was displeased with the idea, but God confirmed to Abraham that Isaac would carry on his line. However, God also assured Abraham that Ishmael’s descendants would become a nation (verse 13). The descendants of Ishmael are found among the Arab peoples today.

The promises God had made to Abraham were to go through the heir that He had designated: Isaac. These were the same promises of national prosperity and of being a blessing to all other nations that were promised to Abraham years earlier (Genesis 12:1-3). The greatest blessing would be the coming of the Savior of the world—Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16).

Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness with bread and a skin of water. Tomorrow we will discover what happened to Hagar and Ishmael there.

For more information on the promises God made to Abraham, read the article “Promises to Abraham.”

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Fear Not, Hagar.”

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