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Genesis 16:1-16, The Birth of Ishmael

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am running away from my mistress Sarai.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit to her.’ The angel of the Lord also said to her, ‘I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.’
— Genesis 16:6b-10

NL Daily Devotion for Monday, September 16, 2019

by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff


I want to pull my hair out when some people say that we need to return to the family values of the Bible. The only conclusion I can make is that they don’t read their Bibles!

Family values? Pfffh.

Family dysfunction? Indeed.

The birth of Ishmael is only one account of continual dysfunction in the historical characters in the Bible.

The saving grace of all of this is that I’m happy—really, really glad—that the Bible doesn’t hold back at how messed up humanity is. It reflects so much of our own experiences. What’s more, it shows the grace-filled reaction that God (sometimes) has.

The account of those ancient ones in Genesis also don’t pull any punches about what’s in store for different groups of people, either (the so-called sons of Ishmael).

Within the messes, we try again to clean up. Within those messes, God seeks to make things work and forge on in relationship.

Help me, O God, to learn of your grace in the mess that is sometimes my life. Amen.