Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Reading the Bible 11 Gen 21: 1-21 God's Sense of Holy Humour

There is much that has been said and more written about the birth of Isaac and the resulting quasi-nuclear family of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael.  For me in this reading two things stick out.  First, God fulfils his promises and second, God opens our eyes.
Through the birth of Isaac God fulfils his covenant with Abraham and with the rescue of Ishmael his promise to Hagar.  Both of these promises are fulfilled in rather unusual ways.  The promise to Abraham was delayed until Abraham was 100 years old.  We are not told how old Sarah is which you might think was more important as she was the one who conceived and gave birth.  However, it is one – the first – of many stories in the bible of God acting in the lives of people when they might have given up hope.  As we have just passed Candlemas, Simeon and Anna come to mind. 

It looked rather hopeless for God promise to Hagar.  She was thrown out into the wilderness with almost nothing after Abraham listened to God.  This seemingly rash act turned out for the best – apparently according to God’s plan - because he opened Hagar’s eyes and enabled her to see what was right in front of her – a well of water. 
In all this I wonder what God has in mind for me.  In terms of age I have more in common with Abraham than Isaac.  It is comforting as well as a bit disconcerting to believe that God has lots left for me to do in my life.  I certainly know that as my wife Lorna points out occasionally I don’t always have eyes to see what is in front of my nose.  Perhaps God will give me eyes to see what he has in mind for the next part of life.  Perhaps the best is yet to come.  Perhaps this is just God's sense of Holy Humour shining through and we can laugh with Sarah. 

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