Day 10: Hagar and Ishmael
Genesis 21:1-34 Sarah’s banishment of Hagar and Ishmael ensured that the promises of God would be fulfilled in Isaac rather than through Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son. The Arabs are thought to be the descendants of Ishmael, and Ishmael is honored as a prophet among Muslims. The Church holds both the Jewish and Muslim faiths in great respect because of this common link to Abraham. (CCC 489, 839-843)
Job 9:1-35 Recognizing God’s power and wisdom, Job wished he could understand the meaning of his hardships since he claimed innocence of any wrongdoing. He also pointed out that death, which is a consequence of our fallen state, afflicts BOTH THE GOOD AND THE EVIL. He was also aware that evildoers often are more prosperous than the virtuous. Therefore, God’s will, as expressed in current circumstances, is beyond the capacity of human judgement. (CCC 2828)
Ch 10:8-12 In his eternal wisdom, God knew and willed us BEFORE HE CREATED US. For this reason, every human life is sacred and must be protected FROM CONCEPTION TO THE NATURAL END OF LIFE. Skin and flesh...bones and sinew: Tertullian called flesh the “hinge of salvation” because we are made of flesh and blood. Christ took out human nature, and our bodies will be reunited to our souls in the RESURRECTION ON THE LAST DAY. (CCC 1015, 2270)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Abraham is the father of our faith and Gen 20:7 is the only time in Scripture that he is referred to as a PROPHET (*NABRE 3rd ed Catholic Study Bible)
We see him walking in faith, and also faltering in faith
Fear of God: in Christianity refers to adherence to a single deity, honoring that deity with prayer, rituals, and obedience. It is a very common term in the Wisdom Books (*NABRE)
He walks in faith when he submits to circumcision and enters into the Covenant with God
But at least on 2 occasions, now with Abimelech, he falters in his courage and faith when he passes off Sarah as his “sister” out of fear
There is something that really is true when it comes to following the Lord: it is so often that we can be walking in faith doing well 9 times out of 10
But then that 1 time out of 10, we fall flat on our face (story of my life haha)
It is a GRACE that we have the sacrament of Confession
It is a GRACE that we know that the heart of the Lord is MERCY
We even see this GRACE that the Lord God appears to Abimelech in a dream telling him to stay away from Sarah because she is Abraham’s wife
God kept Abimelech from Sarah so that he would not sin
This is an incredible gift
How many times have we been following the Lord, and God preserves us from a fall and we don’t even know or realize it?
We may not have any awareness until we get to Heaven of all the times that the Lord has held us back when we didn’t even know
But there are times that God ALLOWS us to fall like Abraham
He allowed Abraham to fail so that he could learn more deeply TO TRUST HIM
It’s one thing to be perfect
It is another thing to be imperfect, to fail, and to learn what it is to be loved in your failure
It’s another thing to learn what it is to be lifted back up from your failure
It’s another thing to learn that your failure does not disqualify you
Abraham’s failure to trust and have faith in God did not disqualify him from the covenant
This same thing is true for you and me, that we may fail any given day
That failure does not disqualify us from His covenant (Jesus)
The Lord continues to call us back to Himself, even if that road is hard to understand
Job is our dear friend
He says things that many of us have wondered, or even said out loud
We may even be too afraid to say these things
“Here is God, but I don’t get it at all….why would he bring me forth and call me into existence?”
“He is so good, but why would he abandon me like this?”
“I can’t even argue with Him”
“If you listen to what I say, You are God and You have all the answers”
“You’re not going to be wrong, I’m going to be wrong if I’m going to get into a fight with you God”
Poor Job just feels so powerless
The question keeps creeping up in his heart, “God, are you actually not on my side? Even though I am trying to be righteous? It seems like you don’t care about the righteous, the wicked, or anybody. I am hurting so badly.”
That could be us so many times, but that is the Cry of Job: God do you not care that I’m hurting so much? Do you not care that I’m trying?
I thought that by living righteously before you in a relationship with you, I thought that mattered to you and now it seems like it doesn’t matter at all to you.
As we continue walking with Job through his pain, this question has a particular kind of an answer.
Be patient, it is important for us to finish the journey with Job and to go with him in his pain and his feeling of abandonment
The quick answer is seen in Proverbs: “If you are just, you get blessed. If you are wicked then you don’t get blessed, that is part of Wisdom.”
The deeper other kind of Wisdom is that God allows the rain to fall on the good and the evil, He causes the sun to shine on the just and unjust and that is the mystery for all of us.
Let Job’s prayer be your prayer if you are suffering and let’s lift each other up.
Let’s pray for each other especially for those who are united and closer than anyone else, maybe, to our friend Job
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for your Word. Oh my gosh, Lord, you work your wonders. You are so mysterious in how you reveal yourself to us. Once again, Father, you have revealed to us the way in which you work through brokenness. You work through people who are fickle. You work for the ways that we try to get out of things and the ways that we try to just understand your Will, your Heart. You are more than we ever could imagine. You are more than we ever could understand or grasp or hope for or long for. But you are God, living and true. So we thank you for sharing your Word with us today. Help us to understand your Word, to receive it, to receive the parts that are hard to understand and to allow our lens to be shaped by your revelation by the revelation of your heart working in our lives this day. In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen."