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Sunday, September 4 2011
Bible History records a number of situations in which two specific people were in direct conflict with each other. A prime example was Sarai (who the LORD later renamed as Sarah; see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') and her Egyptian servant Hagar. Childless Sarai wanted to have children with her husband Abram (who the LORD later renamed as Abraham; see Abram and Sarai); when she was unable to do so on her own, she resorted to Hagar having a surrogate child with Abram.
"16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.
Rather than solving a problem, the plan of recourse created a far bigger conflict - so pregnant Hagar fled into the wilderness after being physically assaulted ("thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled").
"16:5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
The LORD appeared to Hagar in the wilderness and commanded her to return, with a prophecy and a promise about the nation that would be created from her child of Abraham. Although Ishmael (a name chosen by the LORD which means God hears) would be a "wild man," the LORD would "multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude":
"16:7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 16:8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?
"Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation"
Hagar's God-commanded return and submission to Sarai did not bring peace between the two women, because the problem between the women was not the women themselves, but a child of Abraham - a contention that thereafter doubled when the LORD enabled Sarai to have a child of her own with Abram.
"18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre [see The LORD And The Two Angels]: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
So "Isaac" was born - a name based upon Sarai's disbelieving laughter ("Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid"), as quoted above. Sarai did become a believer when the child was born: "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."
"21:1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 21:3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 21:4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him [see Circumcision]. 21:5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
The rivalry between the two women reached its peak on the day that Isaac was weaned. Hagar was again forced out by Sarai (by then renamed as Sarah), this time permanently. The LORD however kept His promise to Hagar - as He restated in His second appearance to Hagar: "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation."
"21:8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 21:10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
Fact Finder: What is the direct Christian significance of Abraham's children through Sarah and Hagar (considering also that today both the non-Christian Jewish and Muslim descendants of Abraham, through Sarah and Hagar, both do not yet recognize the Messiah)?
This Day In History, September 4
476: Romulus Augustulus, 16, the last Roman emperor, was deposed when Odoacer proclaimed himself the King of Italy. The date is incorrectly considered by some historians as the "fall" of the Roman empire, but history and prophecy say otherwise (see Ancient Empires - Rome and The "Holy" Roman Empire).
925: The coronation of Athelstan, the first king to rule over all of England.
1189: King Richard I (the Lion-Hearted) of England was crowned in Westminster.
1609: English explorer Henry Hudson discovered a large, heavily wooded, nearly unpopulated island on the east coast of North America. Today, it is known as Manhattan.
1781: In southern California, Spanish settlers named their small (population 44) new settlement Los Angeles.
1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed to end the Revolutionary War between England and the New England colonies that English pioneers created in the undeveloped wilderness over a century earlier.
1820: Czar Nicholas of Russia claimed all territory from Alaska to Oregon, closing all Alaskan waters to foreigners. Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867. The territory became the 49th U.S. state in 1959.
1886: To stop the further genocide of his people, Apache chief Geronimo surrendered to U.S. troops in Arizona, ending the last major native-American war.
1957: Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus mobilized his National Guard to prevent black students from attending Central High School.
1976: Viking II landed on Mars and transmitted the first close-up, color photographs of the planet's surface.
1985: The first fullerene (an allotrope of carbon in which the atoms form ball-like structures) molecule of carbon was discovered. It was given the name Buckminsterfullerene.
1998: The Internet search Google was founded by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
2010: A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused widespread damage on the South Island of New Zealand.