Do you ever stop to think about the ramifications of writing something and posting it on the internet? I haven’t, in the past. That’s what blogging is, right? Just spouting off whatever is on your mind. And then I wrote that blog about the argument between radio and record labels, and I realized people are reading this and it affects them. So I decided to stay away from controversial things unless I felt God had a specific purpose for it. I think He has a specific purpose for today’s promise. It may be difficult to wrestle with at first, but please stick with me and let’s walk through it together. Take a deep breath. Here we go.
If Israel and Palestine went to war, if the nations of Judaism and Islam fought, which side do you think would be the fulfillment of the promise of God? To bring it closer to home, if the United States is at war with Iraq or Afghanistan, the Christian nation versus the Muslim nation, which side is the fulfillment of God’s promise? We find an amazingly unique and overlooked promise of God in the 21st chapter of Genesis.
We have already looked at God’s promising to make a great nation from Abram’s offspring. But in Genesis 16, Sarai, his wife, has borne no children, so she offers her servant Hagar to Abram. Hagar becomes pregnant and bears a son, Ishmael. After his birth, God tells Abraham that his wife Sarah will still bear him a son, named Isaac. Hagar fears for the well-being of her son, and God speaks to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation” (Gen. 21:17b-18 ESV). God promises that Ishmael will be made into a great nation.
Guess who most experts say that nation is? Right, the nation of Islam, that heritage is from Ishmael. So, both sides are the fulfillment of the promise of God. Now, I am not trying to make any commentary on the war. I am not trying to say whose side God is on. I am merely noticing that sometimes even those we count as enemies are children of the promise, children of the Promiser, as well. And maybe that is why God not only says love your neighbor, but also love your enemy.
5 thoughts on “Promises Pt. 7”
I was at your show in Columbus, GA on Sep 25. You took the time to come down off the stage to shake my hand and I truly appreciated it. You’re still my second-favorite (right behind Elvis!) My family and I have been in some tough times lately and your music has lifted my spirit many times.
I am a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have often struggled with the type of questions that you have posed regarding God’s purpose in such difficult times. Thank you for encouraging me to reflect again. Some thoughts: I agree to not ask which side that God is on. It is His show and He doesn’t need to take sides. The real question is,”Which side am I on?” I think God gave us opposing “sides” to force us to commit our loyalty, whatever that may be. God said that Ishmael and Isaac would both become a great (as in, “above average”)nation. But God further stated that Isaac would be the father of the nation of which, “his offspring will be reckoned.” (Gen. 21:12) Since God doesn’t need to make promises, I believe that this is a prophesy regarding the lineage of Jesus, through which salvation is made possible. So, yes, the enemies of Christians have a huge part in the unfolding drama. And yes, we should pray for them. As a Christian soldier, I do not believe that we should spread our faith by the sword. I don’t see the wars as “Christian vs. Muslim”. I think our goal is to prevent terrorists, most of whom are Muslim, from again attacking our homeland and killing our people. A Christian soldier takes no delight in sending a Muslim to eternal damnation. He would much rather share his faith with that Muslim over coffee at Starbucks. We should love our enemy as 1) a lost soul in need of a Savior and 2) as a key player in Gods plan.
Again, thank you for using your extraordinary gift in such a huge way. You impact thousands and I, for one, appreciate it greatly. Rock On!
That’s really good Todd. I have thought about some of this, and I’ve done some research/pondering on the just war theory. In the Old Testament God would direct His people to kill others, but that was specific to that situation. I’m just not sure what God thinks of our wars. I’m not sure if what our nation does has any grounding in biblical principles. Self defense and national defense seem like correct principles that could be backed up scripturally, but how far do we take the concept of self defense? Should it only be applied for imminent danger? Or should it be for pre-emptive measures?
To get back to your subject; we can think of Islam as our enemies, or the enemies of God, because they don’t believe that Jesus is God and our savior. We can further back up our argument by reminding ourselves that fundamental Islam has an objective to rid the world of “infidels”, which includes Christians. I look to how the believers in the first century chuch dealt with the Romans and any others who threatened them. I don’t recall Peter or Paul directing believers to take up arms against their attackers. I’ve been watching the movie “Gandhi” and wondering if how he dealt with things has some merit.
I’d love to ponder this further, but I just stopped here as a diversion from homework (a paper on Communism), and I have to get back at it. You enjoy your time off (I think you have time off, according to the schedule to my right).
Very thought provoking! You’re absolutely right–God’s promise to make a great nation applied to both Ishmael and Isaac. However, God’s covenant only applied to Isaac. “God said, ‘Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you will call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac . . .” (Genesis 17:19-21)
Knowing that God protected Cain and has fulfilled his promise to the descendants of Ishmael really does give us further insight into God’s heart of love. How amazing is His love to extend it so faithfully even to those who are His enemies! “And maybe that is why God not only says love your neighbor, but also love your enemy.” Well said, Todd. It’s a difficult truth to wrestle with.
Wow, great insights from both Christopher and Brenda!
I agree, Tess, but would expect no less from folks who listen to intelligent music!