Click here for PDF
God Has Made Laughter for Me
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son comes about in their old age and is met with astonishment, joy, and renewed obedience. Isaac rightly receives their attention and affection, which leads to conflict between Sarah and Hagar. Despite Abraham’s initial misgivings, the Lord directs him to send the “son and the slave woman” away while also pledging to protect them and provide a promising future for them. Our concern for Hagar and Ishmael, as well as Abraham’s treatment of them, is paralleled with an application of this passage by the Apostle Paul in Galatians. He rightly understands the difficulty of letting go of our own accomplishments in favor of clinging to God’s promises by faith, yet he calls us to live in freedom by trusting Christ alone for our salvation.
01. The Lord makes promises that only He can fulfill, that time and distance cannot take away, and that persecutors and detractors cannot claim for themselves; let us, then, wait patiently by faith.
02. The Lord provides salvation that only He can accomplish, for our freedom and joy, and without fail for those who believe; let us, then, live like sons and daughters of God and not as slaves to sin.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Note the deliberate choice of words in verse 1 describing the fulfillment of God’s promise: “as He had said,” and “as He had promised.” What do these words convey about the trustworthiness of God’s Word? What events in your life can be described in similar terms, describing how the Lord was faithful?
2. What examples of obedience to God’s Word are evident in Abraham’s actions in verses 3-4? Why is there a renewed sense of obedience on his part? How do our actions before the Lord demonstrate gratitude for His kindness to us? Is obedience to God’s Word a chore or a joy for you?
3. What led to the separation of Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham and Sarah? How does the Lord convince Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away? How does the Lord fulfill His promise to care for Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness? See also Genesis 25:12-18 for further information.
4. What parallels does the Apostle Paul draw from this section in Galatians 4? In what ways were the Galatian Christians being threatened, or mocked at, for trusting in Christ alone for salvation? How does Paul’s admonition for them to “cast out the slave woman and her son” represent true freedom in Christ?
5. Do you trust in Christ alone for your salvation? Is there anything in your life that threatens to take away the joy of your salvation in Christ, such as mockery from the world or struggle with certain sins? Pray that you will be renewed in your astonishment and joy as you reflect on God’s wonderful provision for you in Christ.
For Further Reading: Richard Sibbes, The Glorious Feast of the Gospel (Banner of Truth Trust, 2021)