Ishmael


Genesis 11:10-16:16

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God can not do! My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God can not do. The mountains are His, the rivers are His, the stars are His handiwork too-o! My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God can not do! (one of my favorite kid songs, it was just on my heart and I needed to share it with you today. J )

You see, yesterday I was low. I was discouraged, downhearted and depressed. And while God has not yet changed my circumstance, He has still accomplished the impossible; He changed me and my attitude toward my circumstance through the strength of His word.

He had me take that list of obstacles and pair each one of them with at least one scripture from His Word. Basically He had me take each fiery dart and put it out with Living water. And it started, where else, in today’s reading. (Shaking my head and laughing) Only God!

After the battle with the foreign kings and rescuing Lot, after paying his tithe to Melchizedek, “the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.'” (Genesis 15:1) From here God pointed me forward to Psalm 33. This Psalm became a river in the desert for this parched wanderer today. I pray that it does the same for you!

“Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to Him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; He puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!

The LORD looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man; from where He sits enthroned He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by His great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in You.”

Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

And Ephesians 6:16 says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”

I don’t know what kind of circumstances you’re facing today. But the LORD is the “God of seeing”. (Genesis 16:13) He sees you, He sees your afflictions, He sees your pain and your frustrations and your attackers. He sees because He is with you. Right there, like a spring in the desert, waiting to be tapped into and used. His word is a fountain of Living Water just waiting to quench your thirsty soul with nourishing hope. The hope and confidence that comes from knowing that it’s not about you, it’s about HIM; you are not in control, He is.

He is in control, even when it doesn’t feel like it. He is your shield and your very great reward. He is your fortress of strength when you are weak and tired of fighting. He is a home for the homeless, hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary, strength for the weak. He is an ever present help in times of trouble. And it is HIS faithfulness that shields you from all harm and destruction. Things may seem hopelessly out of control, but the one who spins the planets into orbit without crashing them into one another, is perfectly capable of making sure that your world doesn’t spin out of His control either.

You know what God taught me today that I had never noticed before? Ishmael’s name. Of all the lessons and all the sermons I’ve heard on the two sons of Israel, one the son of promise, the other the son by human will, not once did anyone point out what Ishmael’s name means. Ishmael means “God hears”. For someone who believes adamantly that no baby is an accident because they are impossible to make without God knitting them together in their mother’s womb, each and every one of them is fearfully and wonderfully made. Even Ishmael. Ishmael, even as a wild donkey of a man with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, God was with him there in his mother’s womb. God was with them in this moment of frightened desperation and rejection, He HEARD their plight. This woman was a servant, given to a man to lie with and to bear children for her mistress. Not for herself, not for a family, but to give to another woman; who then treated her with jealous hatred. God saw and heard her tears. God’s words to her next to that spring were words of hope and encouragement. Her child, though his life would be filled with strife, would be a great man with nations inside him waiting to be born.

This spoke volumes to me, as one who has acted quite faithlessly as of late. That even in our faithlessness, God is still faithful and He is still good and filled with Grace toward us. He HEARS the pain that’s hiding behind our faithless actions. He HEARS the fears that well up inside us and choke our throats with sobs. He is so good, especially when we’re not. And if that isn’t reason to celebrate, I don’t what is. J

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God can not do. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God can not do. The mountains are His, the rivers are His, the stars are His handiwork too-o! My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God can not do! FOR YOU!

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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