a. The laugh of mockery. Remember that it was fourteen years between the birth of Ishmael and the birth of Isaac. In those fourteen years, Hagar has submitted herself as a maidservant to Sarah. Over these years, the family has held together. Ishmael grew up in his father’s house and, even if there were tensions, it was not enough to cause a division. But after the birth of Isaac, emotions begin to get strained. Ishmael and Hagar both know what the birth of Isaac means. Ishmael will not be the heir to Abraham. After the birth of Isaac, the story jumps a few years into the future. Ishmael is around 16 or 17 years old as Isaac has been weaned from his mother. Abraham throws a great feast for his son. At this point we see laughter enter the story again but this time it is in the form of mockery from Ishmael toward Isaac. Sarah sees this happening and tells Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” b. The Separation from the World. What is going on here? Paul helps us with that in the book of Galatians chapter 4. 28 Now you,[f] brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.” Henry Law further explains, “In the sons we have the diverse seeds which separate mankind. Isaac images the heaven-born family—the sons of grace—the heirs of eternal righteousness in Christ. Ishmael is dark as the type of that sad progeny, the sons of nature, whose only hope centers in self and self’s performances. The parallel exhibits the black features of poor nature’s seed. They hate the light and would extinguish it. They persecute the lowly followers of the Lamb, and sincerely would chase them from the earth.” The promise was that Isaac was the chosen one. God had said that Ishmael would live against his relatives. Sarah, no matter what her motive for saying this was, is stating what God had already commanded Abraham. He had to be separate from all but God’s chosen. That brings us to the end of the story. Hagar and Ishmael are banned from Abraham’s tents. The pair head out into the wilderness. Soon the water is gone and they begin to feel life slipping from them. Hagar takes Ishmael and pulls him up under some shade and then she leaves him there for she cannot bear to watch him die. God sees (remember that’s Ishmael’s name) and he hears and acts. Hagar sees a well and fills her water skin and they are revived. And God is with Ishmael and he survives. God helps Ishmael physically and makes him into a great nation. He is the father of princes but spiritually, he is lost. His line would be the enemy of God’s people. Psalm 83:5-7 says, “For they conspire with one accord; against you, they make a covenant—the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre.” In the end, Lot’s descendants and Ishmael’s descendants join together to oppose Isaac and his descendants. Abraham’s separation from his family is complete. There is no possibility that Ishmael could be his heir. He has been weaned from his own plans and is now experiencing what God wants. www.trainforeternity.com