March – Ishmael Son of Blessing
Recently, I have been studying Ishmael. I’ve discovered the Lord’s lavish love for Ishmael and his covenant blessing on him. God’s blessings were full of grace and promise. We see that covenant blessing alive today.
Let’s review the story: Genesis 16-22 Sarai (Sarah) was barren and approached Abram (Abraham) with the idea to lay with Hagar, her Egyptian servant so that they might have children. Abraham agrees and once Hagar conceives, Hagar looks with contempt upon Sarah. Sarah (with the support of Abraham) then mistreats Hagar and Hagar flees into the wilderness. An Angel of the Lord finds Hagar and promises that God will greatly multiply her offspring. Her son’s name shall be Ishmael, which means, “The LORD has listened to your affliction.” The Angel also proclaimed that “he shall be a wild donkey of a man and against everyone and everyone against him.” God later promises to bless Ishmael and to “make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly.” God commanded Abraham to circumcise the flesh of Ishmael as a sign of the covenant with him. Last of all, we are told God was with Ishmael and he became a skilled archer.
There is much treasure and depth to uncover in this story: Did Hagar choose to be a wife or a mother? How was Abraham as a husband to Hagar and a father to Ishmael? How did God interact with Ishmael? We see that God promises to make a multitude of his offspring into many nations. God chose the name of Hagar’s son as a name of HOPE. “The LORD has listened…” What consequence does God declare regarding Abraham and Sarah’s poor choices? God says, “He shall be a wild donkey of a man…” Ishmael is a classic wild child from a dysfunctional family and an absentee father. Yet, God marks Ishmael with the sign of the covenant and we are told that God continued to be with Ishmael into his grown life. Who was the loving father to Ishmael? Right–God!
It is believed that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was of the linage of Ishmael and his spiritual heritage. It is interesting that Allah is never connected with the word “Father” in the Qur’an. Like any fatherless child, Muslims today are desperate to reconnect with their heavenly Father. The consequences of Abraham and Sarah are also still raging today as Muslims continue sectarian violence to one another. Our world is experiencing fundamental Islamic angst against others and the persecution of Christians, Jews and Hindus has escalated. Yet God’s covenant with Ishmael is alive and true. The majority of Muslims today are circumcised and God has not forgotten his sign. In the past 30 years, more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ than the combined 1400 years of Islam.
All of us can relate to Ishmael. We all have been rejected and have been disappointed from our earthly fathers. We all have had “donkey” moments. The good news is that God loves the donkey child and has made provision for great blessing through His Son Jesus Christ. Now we are His witnesses! Spirit of Martyrdom ministries is delighted to continue to reach out with God’s love to the Ishmaels around the world in Muslim countries and beyond.
In Colombia, SOM supports the distribution of Christian materials via parachutes from an airplane into hostile regions. A new product was just developed called the Message Box (www.themessagebox.org) and is being offered to SOM for distribution. The box is 2.5 square inches with pictures of the story of Jesus on each side and an audio message of the Gospel. Right now we are low on materials for the parachutes. Please pray for God to provide the resources of the Message Boxes, Bibles, Radios and Christian literature. If you would like to become a monthly partner with us in serving the living martyrs with automatic donations, please contact our office at 928-634-1419. You can also do a one-time donation by clicking here: If you would like to purchase some Message Boxes, they are $ 4.00 dollars each which helps buy and distribute the box. Just add a note to the donation reference “box” when checking out.
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