The birth of Isaac
1: And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2: For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3: And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4: And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5: And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6: And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7: 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.
Hagar and Ishmael sent away
8: And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9: And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10: 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. 11: And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 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. 13: And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14: And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15: And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16: And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17: And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called 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. 18: Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19: And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20: And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21: And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
Abraham’s And Abimelech
22: And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: 23: Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24: And Abraham said, I will swear. 25: And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. 26: And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. 27: And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. 28: And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29: And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? 30: And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. 31: Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; because there they sware both of them. 32: Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. 33: And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 34: And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.
Abraham offers Isaac
1: And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2: And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3: And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4: Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5: And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you, 6: And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7: And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9: And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10: And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11: And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12: And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13: And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14: And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. 15: And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16: And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 19: So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.
20: And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; 21: Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22: And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23: And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24: And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
Sarah dies and is buried
1: And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2: And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3: And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4: I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: ive me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5: And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6: Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. 7: And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8: And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9: That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10: And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11: Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. 12: And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13: And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14: And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15: My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16: And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17: And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18: Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19: And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20: And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.
Our Bible reading today begins with birth and ends with death. Isaac is born and when he comes of age Hagar and Ishmael have to leave. Abraham makes a covenant with Abimelech. Abraham offers his son Isaac. Abraham learns of Nahor’s family and Rebecca. Sarah dies and is buried in great sadness. But first we must look at the birth of Isaac. We see that the birth of Isaac was a divine intervention. God moved in the life of Abraham and Sarah in such as way as to shut up the possibility of them fulfilling the promises of God by their own human efforts. Only when it was completely impossible for them did God fulfil his promise. It was a natural birth inspite of the great age of the parents. What joy must have filled the hearts of these two old people of God. Abraham called their son Isaac meaning ‘laughter’. Gone were the days when they laughed at the promises of God the days had arrived when they laughed at the joy of promises fulfilled. Isaac was circumcised at eight days and Abraham was 100 yrs old. Sarah said God has caused me to laugh and all who hear of this will laugh with me. When the boy was weaned Abraham made a great feast. When Sarah saw Ishmael mocking so Hagar was thrown out of the household of Abraham. Its important to have peace in a house hold. Hagar had returned to the household but obviously this was not working. Abraham was very clear to told Sarah that her son would be heir not Ishmael. Hagar wandered a while and left the child under a bush about 70 yrs away so that she would not see his die. But the Lord heard the cry of the child and the angel of the Lord appeared to her. Saying don’t be afraid Hagar get up l will make a great nation out of the boy. Then the Lord opened her eyes and she saw a well and she went and filled her water bottle and gave the boy a drink. The Lord was with the boy and he grew and became an archer. He lived in the wilderness of Paran. (This was probably on the west of the Sinai Peninsula south east of Egypt) He took an Egyptian wife. In the process of time Abraham had a visit from king Abimelech and Phichol (his general) they said to Abraham God is will you in all you do. It’s interesting that the ungodly recognised the presence of God in Abraham’s life. He asked Abraham to promise to be truthful and to deal honestly with him. Abraham promised he would. Then Abraham rebuked Abimelech because his servant had taken a well by force. Abimelech said that he honestly didn’t know about this and knew nothing about it until Abraham brought it up. Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech and they both agree on what they would do. Then Abraham gave him seven female lambs. When Abimelech asked what they were for, Abraham said these are a witness to me that l dug this well. Abraham gave the well the name Beer-sheba. It was the most southern part of the cultivated area of Palestine. It was situated in the valley between the two ranges of mountains stretching down toward the desert of Sinai. Abraham planted a grove and called on the name of the LORD the everlasting God. The next incident in the life of Abraham is a great trial of his faith. Abraham had waited all his life for a son from Sarah but now God asked him to sacrifice his son. Would this be the end of all his dreams and the breaking of the promises of God? The command of the Lord was clear and emotive. ‘Take your son, your only son, he who you love and go into the land of Moriah’. (Moriah was to be the site of the city of David.) He was to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. This was not an offering for sin but an offering of dedication, wholly for Gods pleasure. Abraham went and after three days he saw the mountain afar off. He told the men with him to stay and that he and the boy would go and worship the Lord and return. Isaac split the wood and they set out together. One cannot help but think of God the Father and his Son setting out to the same place where the Father would offer his Son as a sacrifice for the world. Isaac carried the wood on his shoulder as they went up Moriah’s hill. Isaac was thinking about the coming act of worship and he said to his father where is the lamb? Abraham answered God himself will provided the lamb for the burnt offering. It was quite amazing that Abraham was going to go through with this but just as amazing that Isaac was prepared to give himself up to be laid on the wood. Before the time when Abraham stood at the altar he had resigned himself that this sacrifice would go ahead and had understood that God could raise his son from the dead to fulfil his promises. However when the moment of truth arrived and Abraham took the knife to kill his son the angel of the LORD called to him saying do not touch the lad. Now l know that you really fear God and that you have not withheld your son from me. We can only keep the things that are dearest to us when we are prepared to put them on the altar and trust God to give them back to us if he wants to. When Abraham looked up he saw a ram caught in a thicket. This was the substitute for Isaac. When we get to Matthew we see that Christ is called The Son of Abraham. He was the one who was laid on the wood but for him there was no substitute. Abraham called the place Jehovah-Jireh. God is the provider. Then the Lord spoke to Abraham from heaven and promised that his seed would bring untold blessings to all the nations of the earth. After this Abraham learnt that Nahor had children and that one of them was Rebekah. When Sarah became 127 years of age she died at Hebron. Abraham came to mourn for her and to weep. Mourning is important and no relationship should cease without mourning. Abraham asked to buy a cave in Machpelah to bury Sarah. They offered the land for free but Abraham insisted on paying the full price – 400 shekels of silver. It was the only bit of land Abraham ever owned. It was situated a few miles east of Hebron in the mountains. It was a sad end to a beautiful marriage. Sarah is the only woman whose burial is specifically mentioned in scripture.