January 25, 2023

God hears.

Genesis 21

Amanda Hamilton
Wednesday's Devo

January 25, 2023

Wednesday's Devo

January 25, 2023

Big Idea

We can trust God when we don't know how things will turn out.

Key Verse | Genesis 21:17

And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is."

Genesis 21

The Birth of Isaac

The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. 1 21:3 Isaac means he laughs And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

God Protects Hagar and Ishmael

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 2 21:9 Possibly laughing in mockery 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

A Treaty with Abimelech

22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do. 23 Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.” 24 And Abraham said, “I will swear.”

25 When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized, 26 Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.” 27 So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. 28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 30 He said, “These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this 3 21:30 Or you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore that place was called Beersheba, 4 21:31 Beersheba means well of seven or well of the oath because there both of them swore an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.


[1] 21:3 Isaac means he laughs
[2] 21:9 Possibly laughing in mockery
[3] 21:30 Or you
[4] 21:31 Beersheba means well of seven or well of the oath

S2:018 Genesis 21

Listen Now

Dive Deeper | Genesis 21

In Genesis 21, we have two mothers, two sons, and our faithful promise-keeping God. Let's start with Sarah. Twenty-five years later, she is well beyond her child-bearing years at the age of 90! We see Sarah decide to take measures into her own hands when Hagar has Ishmael. However, the Lord has a perfect plan for Sarah and fulfills His promise of a child. We see the Lord's faithfulness in Genesis 21:1, "The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised."

Sarah, who once laughed at the Lord's promise in disbelief, now laughs with joy at the Lord's miracle of baby Isaac, "son of laughter." Isaac is a reminder to Sarah, Abraham, and us today that the Lord keeps His promises and His perfect plan. Just when Sarah had been laughing with joy, she slipped into fearfulness and control again. Sarah feared Ishmael would be the heir, and she wanted to control the outcome versus surrendering to God's plan.

Then we have Hagar, who is also filled with fear that her son may die in the desert. At her most desperate moment, the Lord hears Ishmael. Genesis 21:17 tell us, "And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, 'What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.'" God has a heart for people. He sees Hagar in her fear and HEARS Ishmael's cries. When Hagar opens her eyes, her fear vanishes as she sees a well. Hagar sees the Lord's faithfulness as provision in her life when she opens her eyes.

Years ago, I related most to Sarah since I have struggled trusting the Lord through my own infertility. However, at this time in my life, I relate to Hagar in the desert, filled with daily worries about my children. I only need to trust that God sees my tears, He hears my prayers, and He is a loving, faithful promise-keeper. 

This month's memory verse

We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

– John 1:45b

Discussion Questions

1. In Genesis 21, we read a lot about laughter. When was a time in your life that you laughed in fear by not trusting the Lord?

2. In Genesis 21:6 Sarah says, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." When was a time in your life that you laughed with joy in seeing the Lord's faithfulness? As you reflect on your life, how have you seen Him answer your prayers?

3. Sarah and Hagar both faced fear in this passage as Sarah feared her child would not be the heir and Hagar feared her child would die. What fear in your life do you want to control versus surrendering to the Lord's will? How can you ask your community to help you with accountability in overcoming these fears? 

4. What attributes of God do you see in Genesis 21? How does seeing the Lord's attributes allow you to love Him more? What Scriptures can you memorize to help you remember these attributes when you are wrestling with control or fear? 

5. Genesis 21:19 says, "Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink." Some commentaries believe the well was always in front of Hagar, and she only needed to open her eyes to see the Lord's provision. What is something in your life that could be preventing you from seeing the Lord's goodness and provision?

6. In this passage, Sarah fluctuates from praising the Lord to fear and control. How do you do this in your own life? What can you do to rely less on emotion and trust more in the Lord's plan for your life?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

GM Amanda! GREAT devo and amazing backstory. Q1. Youth to age 55. The message my Great Depression era parents gave me was “It’s up to you.” A pastor notes this as, “if it's going to be it's up to me.” OR “If I don't then it won’t.” He also notes of my three choices, (Drifting, Driven, or Directed), this world view leaves me only one; DRIVEN. In other words…SELF Q2. In my 20s I saw the Lord answer my prayer for a wife, kids, and material prosperity. Shallow? Yes. Later, He showed me the path to Him, (Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 11:28-30). Q3. Salvation of my unbelieving adult children. I’m blessed with good counsel that constantly reminds me that “DIRECTED” is a better path than DRIVEN or DRIFTING. Q4. Many. But most importantly- faithfulness in the promise of an heir, His material and spiritual provision and protection of Hagar and Ishmael.

Hugh Stephenson

Q5. Fear blinds me. (False Evidence Appearing Real). Fear of poverty, death of unsaved children, outcomes of bad choices…many others. Q6. Fear = “I don’t think God will get this right.” See answer to Q1. A closer walk with Jesus is always my answer. ------------------------------------ I’m taught the OT is “Christ concealed” and the NT is “Christ revealed”. The task is to see all the fore shadowing in the OT. Not just the prophecies- but also the semi-hidden “hints” -The Genesis 3:15 promise -Enoch -Noah -Abraham -Melchizedek THE Angel of the Lord And now these from TC’s notes

Hugh Stephenson

The Abrahamic covenant was “Land, Seed & Blessing”. Add that to Genesis 3:15 and other verses and I get the notes below from TC “McGee listed nine similarities between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Jesus: (1) They had both been promised. (2) With both births there was a long interval between the promise and the fulfillment. (3) The announcements of the births seemed incredulous and impossible to Sarah and to Mary. (4) Both Isaac and Jesus were named before their births. (5) Both births occurred at God's appointed time. (6) Both births were miraculous. (7) Both sons were a particular joy of their fathers. (8) Both sons were obedient to their fathers, even unto death. (9) The miraculous birth of Isaac is a picture of the resurrection of Christ. Also, both births resulted in their mothers' rejoicing in God's goodness to them.”

Michael Sisson

Re: Gen 21:2 G-d first promised Abraham descendants 25 years earlier. (Gen 12:7) Re: Gen 21:4 Genesis 21:4 (NASB1995) Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was >>>eight days old,<<< as God had commanded him. See Gen 17:12 Re: Gen 21:9 Genesis 21:9 (NASB) Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, >>>mocking.<<< As Hagar had despised Sarai, so too Hagar’s son, Ishmael, despised Isaac. (See also Gal 4:29) This is another link in a chain of examples throughout scripture of the far off, approaching Messiah (Num 24:17a) and His progenitors being opposed, baselessly hated (Heb = “sinas chinam”), and generally mistreated. It is a small foretaste of why Isa 49:7 will refer to Yeshua (Jesus) as the “Despised One.” Re: Gen 21:10 In Gal 4:21-31, Paul cites Gen 21:10 while making a brilliant allegorical application of the relationship between Sarah and Hagar to compare G-d’s covenant with Abraham at Mt. Zion (“land of Moriah”/Jerusalem) to G-d’s covenant with Moses at Mt. Sinai. For more about Paul’s allegory, please see the following Hebrew For Christians article. https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Hagar_and_Sarah/hagar_and_sarah.html Re: Gen 21:12 Genesis 21:12 (NASB) But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for >>>through Isaac your descendants shall be named.<<< Re: Gen 21:22 Gen 21:22 (NASB) Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, >>>“God is with you in all that you do;<<< Many are critical of Abraham’s ruse in Genesis 20. However, Abraham’s ruse did ultimately serve to demonstrate to Abimelech that Abraham was a prophet and favored by the G-d Most High. (Gen 20:7; 1Chr 16:22; Ps 105:15) Throughout Genesis 20 and 21, Abimelch demonstrates he is of more noble character than Pharaoh in Genesis 12, and G-d honors his efforts to act righteously and demonstrate faith (Gen 20:6; Acts 10:34-35). Re: Gen 21:23 Gen 21:23 (NASB) now therefore, >>>swear to me<<< here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned.” The Philistines (Gen 21:32,34) honored this covenant (Gen 21:27) with Abraham and his descendants, until the days of Samson, when they began to attack Israel for the first time.

Michael Scaman

Bot only did Abraham have a child Isaac, but he will have 6 more sons after Sarah dies and 12 prices through Ishmael with Keturah making him 'father of nations. ( Abraham had an unknown number of daughters. We know there could be because Jacob has 12 sons and Dinah pops out in the story as if out of no where. )

Michael Scaman

No perfect people here. Abraham tells his wife to pretend she's his sister. Sarah abuses Hagar. There is strif between Jacob and Esau. There is strife between wives of Jacob moving to the next generation. The Ishmaelite's and the other sons of Jacob will broker a human trafficking deal with Joseph to Egypt. Later in the Bible an Ishmaelite and his men kill governor Gedaliah of Jerusalem. God is merciful, faithful and gracious.

Sue Bohlin

Thanks, Amanda! Loved the shout-out to Kyle Kaigler, who blesses us BIG TIME up at CityBridge! In this chapter, I see a theme of God opening the eyes of people: 1) He opened Sarah's eyes to see Him as the Promise Fulfiller when Isaac was born, as promised. 2) He opened Hagar's eyes to see the well of His provision for her. 3) He opened Abraham's eyes to the way He had shown divine favor to Abraham in ways that pagan rulers could see. And He opened Abraham's eyes to see the lasting consequences of his earlier deception to Abimelech (in saying Sarah was his sister): Abimelech was basically saying, "Swear to me you won't lie to me again." Ouch.

Amy Lowther

1. I was in the sixth grade. I was an excellent student, and I wanted to go to private school because I thought it would make me a better person. My parents at the time told me no. So, I started withdrawing and isolating myself from friends and school activities. I didn’t even consider how God and Jesus would have seen it. At the time, I didn’t know they would go to school for me. I was thinking maybe my parents of that time would put me in private school because I needed it. The parents at the time still said no. So I finished sixth grade, just short of being the number one student. I later found out my withdrawing and isolating from friends and activities were part of me not being the number one sixth grader of that year. My teachers wanted me to remember the social skills were just as important as the academic skills. So seeing school like God and Jesus would have helped. God and Jesus will help you to value yourself, others, and your opportunities. 2.. When I was in high school, my summer softball team played in a tournament in Oklahoma. As part of the trip, we attended a minor league baseball game. While sitting on the first base line watching the game, a foul ball came towards me while sitting amongst my teammates. It hit my hands and bounced into my teammate’s hands. She made a nice catch. Later, she gave me the ball to keep. She said if it wouldn’t have hit my hands, it never would have landed in her hands. My teammate was very unselfish that day. I know God was proud of my teammate. 3. I surrender everything to God as often as possible, 4. God is strong. God is caring. 5. My work hours can keep me from seeing God’s goodness. 6. To keep from being too emotional, I always go to God to begin each day. Then I chat with friends before work starts and after work ends to discuss daily goals which include God’s values and how to achieve them. To increase trust of the Lord’s plan, I read the Bible and apply it in daily life.

morgan houghton

such a powerful devotion, thank you for sharing! I need prayer in this area of my life- and so many more! God is just so relational, so caring and in tune with our hearts and emotions, if we allow him to be in our lives. I often let my emotions and feelings get the best of me even though they are rooted in fear. Which just like hugh said is false evidence appearing real and I convince myself that it is. I know that this fear holds me back from obedience to God and I am at the point where I have acknowledged it but now action is necessary. I covet your prayers and praying for the Lord’s guidance on my life!

Kathy Hempel Cox

really great questions! thank you!!!