“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3 NLT
God gave Abram the promise of a son, when He told him:
“You will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:4-5 NLT
God also gave Abram the promise of the land of Israel, when He made a covenant with him:
“I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.” Genesis 15:18 NLT
“Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.” Genesis 17:15-16 NLT
God’s promise to Abraham was directly connected to the land of Israel. It was to be fulfilled through his son, Isaac, the firstborn of Sarah through whom came the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, and the redeeming Savior to all people of the earth, Jesus Christ!
But then, Sarah, lamenting her barrenness, told Abraham to go in to her maid, Hagar, and conceive by her.
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant.” Genesis 16:1-4 NLT
This child born to Hagar was Ishmael through whom the Arab nations came and, eventually, Islam and the greater Islamic world.
Immediately after Ishmael was conceived, Hagar began to despise Sarah. Sarah also despised Hagar because she had conceived a child by her husband. (See Genesis 16:5-6) After this, Sarah treated her so badly that Hagar attempted to flee. This enmity between Hagar and Sarah, because of Abraham’s very bad decision, is the beginning of all the enmity that exists to this day between their descendants.
It was during this time that the Lord sent an angel to give Hagar the following message:
“I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said: “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” Genesis 16:10-12 NLT
Fourteen years after the birth of Ishmael, Isaac is born fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham through Sarah. Ishmael begins mocking Isaac’s birth, so Sarah tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham was greatly troubled by this, but God told him not to worry and to do what Sarah said, reminding him the promise was to be through Isaac. Ishmael was not to be heir with Isaac. However, out of His mercy, God also promised to make Ishmael a great nation because he was a son of Abraham too. (See Genesis 21:1-13) And it is from this nation that Islam eventually came.
A well-known author and teacher of eschatology, describes the biblical definition of Islam this way:
“So now we have this story: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael is a fourteen year old boy. He’s kicked out into the desert but the Lord is faithful. He preserves him. He promises to make him into a great nation. So we read these things and they’re interesting Bible stories but what I’m asking you to do is to put yourself in the position and recognize the fact that in history, in real time, this was a real boy… with real emotions, with a real life. This happened to a little kid named Ishmael. And so what we need to understand is you have this little boy and… he had a dad. He had a mother. He had a family. He had a life. He had an inheritance. And in one day he loses all of these things. He loses his dad. He loses his inheritance. He’s out in the desert. He’s on his own. And that brokenness, that woundedness, that rejection that took place in this little child, today, has been passed on into the religion of Islam.
What do I mean? … Mohammed, the founder of Islam… claims to be a direct descendant of Ishmael and Muslims, today, view themselves as both the physical and the spiritual descendants of Ishmael. And so here you have this story, this incredible event that took place in this child’s life. Two thousand six hundred years after these events took place, a direct descendant of Ishmael named Mohammed birthed forth a new religion into the world. And what does the religion teach? … It teaches God is not a father. God has no Son. And, thirdly, Ishmael, not Isaac, is the heir with regard to the promises of God to the earth. The very things that those issues of rejection and woundedness and brokenness that took place in Ishmael’s life were preserved in that line and two thousand six hundred years later, a man named Mohammed goes into a cave, has an incredibly dark encounter with some sort of spiritual being. It literally chokes the life out of him to where he feels as though he’s going to die, three times this presence comes over him and it demands of him to recite… On the third time, the words of the Qur’an begin to flow forth from his mouth.
Mohammed, himself, literally believed that he was demon-possessed. He was suicidal. He was terrified.”
After this, he runs home to his wife who eventually convinced him he was a prophet of God. This is the origin of Islam. In a spiritual sense, Islam is the broken, bitter cry of Ishmael.”
Therefore it important to pray for Muslims, the followers of the religion of Islam, and break this Ishmaeli generational curse of bitterness and anger over them, so they may be saved and understand the truth! Because there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity, Jesus Christ! He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone, including those from the religion of Islam! (See 1. Timothy 2:1-6)