Jan. 7. Various Events Preceding Promised Birth

Gen. 16:1-19:38

When God doesn’t answer our prayers when we want and the way that we want, we tend to get impatient with Him. Abram and Sarai made that mistake when they perceived that she would never bear a child. She took Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant to Abram thinking that Hagar could bear the promised child for her. God didn’t need their help in this matter.

After Hagar had conceived, relationships changed in Abram’s household. Because of harsh treatment by Sarai, Hagar fled into the wilderness. An angel instructed her to return and to be in submission to her mistress. She was also informed that her son would be called Ishmael and that he would be a wild man. She would have a multitude of descendants.

At age ninety-nine, twenty-four years after instructing Abram to leave Haran, God reminded him of His covenant. This time, He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, “For I have made you a father of many nations.” He also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.

As a sign of God’s covenant, He commanded Abraham and all males associated with him to be circumcised. He further commanded that all male children be circumcised at eight days of age.

God informed Abraham that he would give him a son by Sarah and that his name would be Isaac. He stated that He would establish His covenant with Isaac and with his descendants. Isaac would be the son of promise instead of Ishmael.

Abraham was concerned about the status of Ishmael. Even though God’s covenant would be with Isaac, Ishmael would be fruitful and multiply into a great nation. It was still difficult, even with their great faith for Abraham and Sarah to understand how they, advanced in years at ninety-nine and ninety could have a son.

Lot and his family were dwelling in Sodom, a great and sinful place. The practice of homosexuality was widespread—the term sodomy was derived from the sins of Sodom. God, in His anger toward that city decided to destroy it and its neighbor, Gomorrah which was also very sinful.

Abraham’s attempt to save Sodom failed when God was unable to find even ten righteous souls in the city. God sent two angels to warn Lot to take his family out because He had sent them to destroy it.

Lot’s two sons-in-law refused to heed his warning, but he escaped the next day with his wife and two daughters to Zoar, a nearby city. His wife disobeyed the command to not look back and turned into a pillar of salt, so only Lot and his two daughters were saved from the rain of brimstone and fire that rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

The daughters of Lot fearing that they would be childless got their father drunk and committed fornication with him. They each had a son from that union. One son was Moab, who became the father of the Moabites and the other was Ben-Ammi, the father of the Ammonites. They became prominent in the history of God’s people.