Review of Genesis 21

by Victor Fawole


Welcome to Genesis 21. We see God in full control of the happenings in Abraham’s life. God has been totally committed to His promise to make him a father of many nations. God indeed wants all the peoples of the earth to be blessed through him. Even in moments when he made “costly” mistakes, God went before him to protect him, and sustain the covenant He gave him. This chapter is Party Time! Abundant joy and celebration! Let’s go through it together:


Gen. 21:1-3 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

God was faithful to His promise. His promises never fail, no matter how long it takes. For Abraham and Sarah, they waited for God’s promise for 25 years. God does not only keep His word; His timing is always perfect. God’s unlimited power turns sorrow into joy.

God’s promise of a son was not fulfilled because Abraham was perfect in his obedience, but because God was faithful to His Word.

Isaac is a wonderful type or picture of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

  • Both were specially promised sons.
  • Both conceptions were miraculous, as both mothers do not expect to have a child for biological reasons.
  • Both mothers were given assurance by truth of God’s omnipotence (Gen. 18:13-14; Luke 1:34, 37).
  • Both were given names before they were born.
  • Both births occurred at God’s appointed time (Gen. 21:2; Gal. 4:4).
  • Both births were accompanied by great joy (Gen. 21:6; Luke 1:46-47; 2:10-11).

The name Isaac means “laughter” and this gift of a son brought much joy to his aged parents. Through Isaac, the Messiah would come and bring joy to the world (Matt. 1:2). Indeed, God makes “everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11).

Gen. 21:6-7 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

Sarah’s rhetorical question highlights God’s grace vs. Abraham’s age and God’s power vs. Natural impossibility. Not only did God miraculously enable her to bear a son, He also empowered her to nurse him! Hallelujah!


Gen. 21:9-11 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

The joy of grace was mocked by the product of flesh! This is exactly how those who received the gift of grace are being persecuted by those who bank on self-righteousness! (Gal. 4:23,29)

“Cast out this bondwoman and her son…” Interestingly, these were Sarah’s last recorded words in the Bible. Oh, how instructive! She could not even bear to mention their names. She said: “this bondwoman and her son”. The flesh cannot coexist with the spirit; it’s a war! New wine cannot be poured in an old wine skin. Grace cannot mix with law. Cast out law and embrace grace! Yes, God endorsed it.

At this point, Abraham must have learnt that choices have consequences. Another lesson he’s learning is that the good must go in order that the best may come. Albeit, it was a grievous goodbye for him. It was “a time to laugh and a time to weep”. A son arrives unto him, and a son departs from him. Imagine his emotions.

Gen. 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

One can understand the emotional distress of a father. But God commanded him to listen to his wife. God’s covenant will be fulfilled through Isaac, and Isaac only! Sometimes, we also find it difficult to part with the desires of the flesh. The struggle is intense, but to cling to the flesh only results in bondage. All thanks to God, Who has provided a way for us to be free from bondage to the flesh.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

However, since Ishmael was Abraham’s son, God repeated His promise to make Ishmael a nation. He then sent them off, and that takes us to the final thoughts for today.


Gen. 21:1 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

For the second time, God showed up for Hagar after she was banished from the comfort of Abraham’s home. We will notice:

A. The Divine Question
God called, and said, “What aileth thee, Hagar?”

What a timely and tender sympathy from God. Hagar’s situation was a terrible one, although it is not uncommon among men.

  • She was an OUTCAST: “Cast out this bondwoman… Abraham sent her away…” She was sent out of the house. She was a slave, her son was a product of flesh, and there was no place for them in God’s covenant with Abraham. We also were outcasts by nature (dead in sin), by signature (as gentiles) and by nurture (our sinful actions).
  • She was DESTITUTE: “The water was spent in the bottle” Outcasts easily and quickly run out of resources. The prodigal son’s fortune was soon exhausted. When a sinner gets to an end of himself he has nothing left but prayer. It is when all self-created streams dry up that we seek the Living Water.
  • She was HELPLESS and HOPELESS: “She went a good way off, and said, Let me not see the death of the child” She now sees death before her. She is a true and painful picture of one who is “without strength.” Glory to God “…for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).

B. The Divine Response
Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

As Hagar lifted her voice and wept, God responded. God answered specifically in response to Ishmael’s voice. One can safely say that Ishmael cried out for mercy and help. In this divine response, we will notice:

  • The PROVIDER: “God hath heard the voice”
    Man’s endpoint opens the door for God’s opportunity. God showed up as the Provider. He started by dealing with her emotional stability. “Fear not…” We are encouraged by this truth: The divine “fear not” is backed by the divine “fullness” (Isa. 41:10). I love to rejoice in my Provider for…

i. In Him is infinite WISDOM to FULLY KNOW my needs (Psa. 147:5)

ii. In Him is infinite WEALTH to FULLY MEET all my needs (Phil. 4:19)

iii. In Him is infinite WILL to FREELY GIVE all I need (Rom. 8:32)

  • The PROVISION: “God opened her eyes… She saw a well of water”
    While she agonized with thirst, God organized a well. This is the condition of people who are not saved. The well of salvation is nearby, but they wouldn’t see it except God opens their eyes. This “opening of eyes” is the drawing of God, and believing is “drinking from the well of salvation”.

We did not, and can not, make the well of salvation, but we take the water freely offered to us (Rev. 22:17). This is a revelation of our own blindness and God’s benevolence.

God made the provision. God opened her eyes, but she must fill the bottle. Those whose eyes have been opened and yet refuse the free gift of salvation will have to go for a Christless eternity. (Heb. 6:4-6)

Dear Gogolights, let us not relent in our evangelistic assignment. Let us invite people to drink freely of the Spring of Grace. This fountain has been opened for sinners to be made clean, comforted, and satisfied – and there is enough to fill every bottle and satisfy every heart!

Grace to you, Church!

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