As a Jewish citizen of Israel, I must confess that it is sometimes hard to maintain God’s heart of love for those who seek our destruction. There is no question that the radical Islamic ideology is a danger to Israel and the whole world—including the Arab nations. However, I am not talking about the ideology today, but, rather, the people.
I had the privilege last week of spending several days with Egyptian-born prayer leader, David Demian. He demonstrates the love of God towards all nations in a way that moved me. He not only sees and honors God’s role for Israel and the Jewish people, but he is also contending for God to fulfill His will in the sons of Ishmael.
Love for my Arab brothers
The more I listened to him, the more my heart was filled with love for my Arab brothers. When I say brothers—I mean, after the flesh. We are both sons of Abraham.
But wait Ron, Ishmael was mistake—and after all, not even the son of Sarah, but Hagar.
That is what I thought. My dear brother Bassam Adranly, an Israeli Arab pastor (and optometrist) who loves the Jewish nation, explained that in ancient cultures, if a woman could not bear a child, it was common to give her servant to her husband, in order for her (the servant) to bear a child with her husband—for the barren wife. We see that with both Rachel and Leah. Listen to Sara—then Sarai:
Now Sarai Avram’s wife had not borne him a child. But she had an Egyptian slave-girl named Hagar; so Sarai said to Avram, “Here now, Adonai has kept me from having children; so go in and sleep with my slave-girl. Maybe I’ll be able to have children through her.” (Gen. 16:1-2)
Did you see that? Sarai doesn’t say to Avram that merely he would have an heir, but “I’ll be able to have children through her.” Legally, Ishmael and Isaac were brothers, not half-brothers.
And if the Lord has disdain for the Arabs, as we sometimes act, why didn’t He just let Hagar run away? When she fled from Sarai, the angel of the Lord—Yeshua in the Old Covenant—went to find her. And when He did, He blessed her greatly with a promise.
“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 pregnantand you will give birth to a son.You shall name him Ishmael.” Gen. 16:10-11)
Notice he doesn’t say you will have a son, but merely you will give birth to a son. Why? Because the son would belong to Sarai and Avram. Next, He speaks of the complicated life Ishmael will have.
“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.” (Gen. 16:12)
I don’t think this is a prophecy about his destiny, but more about the fruit of being born into a highly dysfunctional family and dealing with severe rejection. Why do I say t