Shadowland: Beginnings: Week 21
The Son of the Bondwoman
In the journey from Ur to Moriah, Abram faces many tests of faith. His
performance is mixed: here is how I would grade him so far:
Abraham exemplifies justification by faith - but is far from perfect.
Hallelujah! God's covenant with Abram is unconditional
and does not depend on Abram's performance.
In chapter 15 he "believed God". In chapter 16 he (and Sarai) "walk
according to the flesh".
- ½ Leave your country and kindred, and go to a land I will show you.
- × Stay in land despite famine
- √ Do not covet land
- √ Courage to take arms and wisdom to do so with God's guidance
- √ Fulfil vow and do not covet spoils of war
- ½ Trust God's promise of a "seed from your loins"
- 16:2 "that I may obtain children by her." The Amorite
code of Hammurabi provides for surrogate motherhood.
"And Abram hearkened unto his wife." Compare 3:6
Abram is 85, and Sarai is 75, and it is 10 years since God promised
Abram a Seed. They decide that God intends for them to use other
means. This decision typifies the "works of the flesh". (Galations
"to be his wife" - God does not recognize this "marriage" (16:9,21:13).
- 16:4 The "work of the flesh" is immediately evident, Galations 5:19-21
- 16:5 Compare 3:12
- 16:7 The "Angel of the LORD" is Christ. He finds a woman at a well
and changes the direction of her life (John 4).
Hagar typifies bondage to the law (Galatians 4:21-5:1), but
she is still loved by God as a person and the recipient of His
- 16:9 Jesus bids her to return to her post, and annuls her "marriage".
God himself will set her and Ishmael free after another 13 years of
- 16:11 Ishmael means "God hears"
- 16:12 "in the presence of" - actually "in the face of",
to "sinners before the LORD" in 13:13. This prophecy is not
specifically about Ishmael, but about his descendents.
- 16:14 לַחַ֖י lahay - "that lives" or "to life". He is
the living God, and the God of the living, and לחי is an
important symbol in Jewish culture.