Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maps - illustrations - Question

Here is a link to some biblical maps. I know for me I'm a visual person and it helps me when I’m reading about a place to be able to look at a map and try to visually put my self there. Also here are some more visual illustrations like Noah's Ark and the Tower of Babel etc....Hope these tools can add to your reading.

Today’s reading in Gen 16 was interesting. God told Abram that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. Yet he doesn't say the offspring between Abram and Sarai. So Sarai suggests Hagar bear Abram children, which according to traditions of that time was proper, and then Hagar has Ishmael who is a leader of sorts for the Arab Nation. Then later on Sarai has Isaac who in a sense becomes a leader of sorts among the Jewish Nation. Because of these two children we have, as F. LaGard Smith puts it “conflict in the Middle East"

My question is why couldn't have God told Abram that his offspring would specifically be between him and Sarai (he evidentially does later in Gen 17:23-27). Abram would have still had to trust God. Ishmael would have never been born and we would have no Middle East conflict. Or did he use Hagar as a tool for future reasons, which is now evident in our present Middle East conflict


Lisa Battig said...

Whew! Maybe that opening allowed the Prince of This World to sow the necessary seed of doubt in Abraham specifically so that the eventual conflict would arise?? My thoughts would be that it is part of all that is necessary for us to truly understand the grace of our God at the last day. So yes, I think Hagar was a tool. There were a lot of lessons for Sarai (and us women of later generations) in that whole situation, too.

Justin said...

Thanks for the maps link Mitch. Seeing things helps me too. Try Google Earth to see some stuff too.

I think some of the conflict has to do with the Israelites not being faithful. When we get into Kings and Chronicles we'll see how off the people get.

Also, I think Paul talks about the 2 sons in one of his letters, calling Isaac the 'son of the promise.' I think.

Lisa Battig said...

Justin, I was thinking of that same scripture after leaving the post. In Gal 4:21-31 it references the whole situation and uses it as an allegory for faithfulness.