LESSON 17 – Abraham And Abimelech/Isaac The Son Of Promise – Genesis 20-21:1-20

  1. Discussion
    • Read chapter 20. {You may summarize the story for your children if you wish.} What sin does Abraham repeat in this passage? (He moves to the land of the Philistines and tells people of the Negev – find it on a map – that Sarah is his sister. Lying. Self-protection.} Evidently, even at Sarah’s advanced age, she is a beautiful woman because the King of Gerar, Abimelech takes Sarah into his household. Before a marriage takes place God appears to Abimelech in a dream. What does God say to him? (You are as good as dead, because she is married. God threatens to judge him.) What is Abimelech’s response? (He denies any wrongdoing. He was just going along with what both of them said.) God recognizes that Abimelech has been innocent and protects him, but God does warn Abimelech that he must return Sarah or else.  God also tells Abimelech that Abraham is a prophet and tells him to have Abraham pray for him.  Abimelech confronts Abraham. How does Abraham defend himself? (He claims that no one there feared God, so he decided to tell everyone that Sarah was his sister. And that wasn’t really a lie because they were half-brother and sister.  He also obliquely blames God in verse 13 when he says, “…and when God had me wander from my father’s household…” Also, he says that by telling everyone he was her brother, Sarah was showing that she loved Abraham.) How does Abimelech make reparations to Abraham? (He gives him 1,000 shekels of silver – about 25 lbs. ) What had happened to the women in Abimelech’s household while Sarah was there? (no one was having children or getting pregnant) God healed Abimelech’s household when Sarah was returned.
    • Read chapter 21:1-20. (or summarize) How old were Abraham and Sarah when Isaac was born? (Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 9 years younger, 91.) What does the name “Isaac” mean? Why was Isaac his name? (laughter – God names [cf. 17:19] the son because both Abraham and Sarah laughed when told they would have a child together after they were too old to bear children)  On the day Isaac was weaned Abraham declared a holiday and there was a great feast. What was Ishmael’s attitude about the feast? (he was “mocking” Isaac, that is, he was making fun of him) Sarah sees this and tells Abraham that Ishmael and Hagar must be sent away. Why? (She knew that Isaac was the son of promise and that they could not share the inheritance.) Abraham is grieved about this, but God speaks to him. What does God tell him to do? (Send them away. God will take care of them and make Ishmael into a great nation too, but Isaac will be the one through whom the blessing [Christ] comes.) Hagar is sent away with only water and some food. Ishmael is 14 at this time.  How does Hagar react? (She despairs and goes away from Ishmael a ways because she cannot bear to see him die of thirst. She cries.) What does God say to Hagar? (God hears Ishmael crying, and tells Hagar to not be afraid. He gives her the promise again that her son will be a great nation.) God opens Hagar’s eyes and she sees a well. They lived in the desert near Beersheba (find on a map) and Ishmael became an archer. Hagar gets a wife for her son eventually from Egypt.
  2. Application
    • God fulfills His promise to Sarah and Abraham. Sarah is ecstatic and knows that all will laugh with her now that she is truly a mother. (vs 6,7) What long-range promise are you waiting for? (Christ’s return, heaven, new body, holiness, etc.) What does this story teach us about God’s promises? (He always keeps them, even when it seems impossible. What He plans to do, He will do.) God is faithful. Are you faithful when you promise something? To God a promise is a sacred thing and to not do it would be to lie.  We need to be careful to not easily make promises. Read James 5:12.  What does this verse teach about making promises, or oaths? (Don’t swear, but be careful to mean what you say. Let your yes be yes and your no, no.) Do people trust you? Do they know you will do what you promise or are you characterized by faithlessness? Discuss this problem with your child and pray together for them to take their word seriously as God does.  If needed, take time to confess sin in this area.
    • Two people are not as excited as Abraham and Sarah. Hagar and Ishmael have been displaced.  Ishmael does not love or accept his baby brother for who he is: the son of the promise. Instead, at the feast he openly mocks the child and shows that he despises his half-brother.   As a result Sarah insists they be banished and God agrees with this. [Galatians 4:21-31 gives more insight on this passage. Use it only with older children.] Abraham experiences great grief as he obeys and sends Hagar and Ishmael away.  God does take care of them, but their descendants still dwell in the desert – a thorn and great trouble for Israel even today.–
  3. Digging Deeper
    1. For girls only: If we only had the Genesis account to study Sarah, we might conclude that she didn’t trust God and was a failure in many ways. Thankfully, the New Testament fills in the “big picture” of Sarah and her life. Study Hebrews 11:11 and I Peter 3:1-6 and tell why Sarah is a good example of a godly wife. How can you prepare yourself to be a godly wife? What specific things are you doing right now to prepare for marriage and be a spiritual “helpmeet” to your future husband?
    2. Read Galatians 4:21-31.  Draw a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Hagar and Sarah, using information about them from Genesis as well as the Galatians passage.  End with a paragraph interpreting the Galatians passage and how this relates to you personally.
    3. Who in your life has been an “Abimelech”? A person who has confronted you and boldly set you on the straight path. Tell about your experience and what it taught you.  Also, who is God calling you to be an “Abimelech” to? Is there someone you need to encourage and exhort? What will you say to them? What verses guide us when we confront someone? (Start with Galatians 6:1-5.)