When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac. So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. … I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.”—Genesis 21:8-13. NLT
Abraham’s and Sarah’s disastrous decision to have a child through their slave Hagar created great conflicts and heartaches. But God poured out grace on them in spite of everything. While unwanted pregnancies may exist, every baby should be wanted. Both Abraham and Hagar loved their son Ishmael, even if Sarah did not accept him.
According to the custom of the time, only the legitimate son Isaac had a right to inherit the blessing and fortune of his father Abraham, so Ishmael wound up disinherited and expelled. Nevertheless, God does not accept the idea of illegitimate human beings and honored the promise to Abraham, greatly blessing Ishmael. From him the Arab peoples arose, who now number 422 million souls–more than ten times the descendants of Isaac.
Migration has also created many complications in the families of the world. Sometimes fathers and mothers migrate from their country, determined to support the family members that stayed behind. Alone in their new place, some become emotionally distant from their families, fall into sexual temptation, form new couples, and procreate children. In the majority of cases, they continue to love their original family, in spite of their divided hearts. They may feel like Abraham, with his affection for two children and two women.
Often, someone winds up disinherited. Even if your father or mother or husband or wife victimized you in that way, God has not disinherited you. God loves every one of us, and God’s inheritance has no limits. God will not abandon us, no, never. God will fulfill every promise.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.