In case some missed the Sunday School lesson discussing the origins of the friction between the Jewish people and the Arab nations, let me take a moment to share a little refresher. A few days ago, aides from the Obama Administration appeared dumbfounded on the morning news shows when asked about the hatred between Muslims and Jews. It’s quite simple, really. One needs only turn in the Bible to Genesis chapter 16.
But first some background.
Have you ever become impatient with God?
God promised Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would be blessed with a child…a son. Many years passed and Sarah failed to conceive. Instead of waiting faithfully for God to provide the promised heir, Abraham weighed his options. Abraham considered the situation and decided God needed help. So, he married his wife’s maidservant, Hagar, and she conceived.
But this wasn’t God’s plan. Abraham failed this test of patience miserably. The child growing in the womb of Hagar was not the chosen son. Abraham sinned by choosing to take matters into his own hands. Bitterness, strife, and envy raged between Sarah and her maidservant Hagar. Abraham instructed his wife to do with Hagar as she wished. Chapter 16 verse 6 says,
“And when Sarai dealt severely with her, humbling and afflicting her, she (Hagar) fled from her.”
An Angel of the Lord found Hagar near a small brook. Hagar poured out her heart to God’s messenger, but the Angel of the Lord commanded her to return to her mistress. She also was given the following promise concerning the child she would bear:
“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be numbered for multitude.”
But then the Angel of the Lord shared the following about the baby she would deliver:
“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
God promised that Ishmael’s descendants would be numerous, but also warned that Ishmael and his future line would be violent, living in hostility toward everyone. Ishmael’s line fathered the Arab nation that exists today.
Abraham and Sarah did eventually conceive a son and gave him the name Isaac. Isaac’s birth fulfilled God’s promise and insured the Jewish line would never cease to exist. Of course tensions existed between Ishmael and Isaac, and that animosity continues to this day.
If the Obama Administration would just brush up on biblical history, there’d be less head scratching by Obama Aides on future morning news shows.