My church is doing a new 31-week study called “The Story.” As a historical writer, I’m enjoying this different way of looking at the Bible. There series goes through the WHOLE BIBLE, which seems daunting at first, but not if you follow its study guide and skip around the Bible a bit.
Back in the day, before written text was easy to pass from person to person, Bible stories were taught verbally. Then copies of the scrolls were passed around, later codices, which evolved into books. The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek (The Septuagint). The New Testament written in Greek, later Latin and finally in the language of the people, English & German first, and now its in over 2,000 different languages.
But I digress. As we’re starting the story from “In the beginning…” reading Genesis 16:9-12, I realized that passage is a prediction of what’s happening in today’s world.
Genesis 16 is the story of Hagar. When Abraham was called Abram, God tells him that he and his wife, Sarai, will have a child. Abram was 90 and Sarai was 80 – a little late to have a kid. So Sarai get’s the bright idea to have her husband lie with her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar.
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son.You shall name him Ishmael, (which means “God hears”) for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
“His Brothers” is the nation of Israel. Isaac is later born to Sarah and Abraham (God changed their names, Abraham means father of many) with the promise that his descendants will number as many as the stars in the sky (the Jews).
Later, God explains himself not to get the two sons confused. Genesis 17:20-21
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”
The Palestinians are descendants of Ishmael and the Israelis, of Isaac, both of whom are descendants of Abraham (who did become the “father of many.”)
So all the problems Israel is having now were predicted in the Bible and the prophecy came true!
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