Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Hagar and Ishmael

Abraham and Sarah hosted a great feast to celebrate the weaning of Isaac. Hagar and her son Ishmael attended the feast, but when Sarah witnessed Ishmael making fun of her baby boy, she threw a fit. She told Abraham she didn’t want the son of that slave woman sharing in Isaac’s inheritance.

Sarah insisted Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. This grieved Abraham as Ishmael was his son. But he took the matter to God, and God told him that he should listen to Sarah. He assured Abraham that Isaac was the promised son, but that he would also make Ishmael a father of a nation since he, too, was Abraham’s seed.

Early in the morning, Abraham gave Hagar bread and a skin of water and sent her and Ishmael away. They wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba until the water ran out. With no food or water to sustain them, Hagar placed her son under a bush then sat away from him as she didn’t want to watch her son die.

Feeling alone and forsaken, Hagar wept in the wilderness.

She wasn’t alone, though. God heard the cries of her and her son. The angel of God called down from heaven and asked her what was wrong. He told her not to fear for God heard her son’s cries.

“Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation,” (Genesis 21:18 NKJV).

Then God opened her eyes to a nearby well of water. God was with Hagar and Ishmael. They dwelt in the desert, and Ishmael became an archer.

Nothing hurts a mother’s heart quite like seeing her child suffer. But may we find comfort in knowing that just as God hears our cries for help, he hears theirs as well.

Hagar and Ishmael in Scripture: Genesis 21:8-21

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