Genesis 21:8-14 – Get rid of the flesh

Gen 21:8  And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

Gen 21:9  And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Gen 21:10  Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Gen 21:11  And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

Gen 21:12  And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Gen 21:13  And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

Gen 21:14  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.



Isaac has been weaned; Abraham is celebrating; and Ishmael is having a little fun.  Sarah doesn’t like what she sees so she tells Abraham to kick Hagar and her son out of the camp.

Isaac would have been around 3 or 4 years old; Ishmael, around 15 or 16.

Hagar, no doubt, would have been giving Sarah trouble because of her diminished stature after the birth of the promised son.

Sarah didn’t like the situation so she wanted them out and it bothered Abraham.

Abraham loved Ishmael and had wanted him to be his heir before the birth of Isaac.

Now Abraham was about to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness.

The law of the time stated that he could have banished Hagar and kept Ishmael in his family if he so desired, but God spoke with him and comforted him in what seems to be a heartless decision.

God tells him that is will be ok and that this is the right thing to do.

So Abraham send them on their way with some bread and a bottle of water.

The term wilderness also needs to be defined here.  When we see this term; it doesn’t speak to what we usually know as wilderness.  We see trees, woods, or a very dense but an area filled with water, shade, and berries or things like that to eat, but it is just the opposite.  In biblical times this would be what the term “desert” describes.

The wilderness is not a good place to be in and is filled an abundance of sand and no water; A place where you were, more than likely, going to die if you didn’t have the necessary provisions.


Some bread and ONE bottle of water.

Pretty harsh it would seem, but Abraham is showing us something that, as Christians, especially Christian fathers, we need to take note of:


  1. “Listen to your wife”

God tells him to “Listen to Sarah.” Now he had done this before and it would seem that, in my eyes, listening to her is what got them into this mess in the first place.  Abraham is just as guilty though, he didn’t have to listen when she gave Hagar to him to have a child. Sarah’s actions and words go along with the plan of God this time.

Most men only focus on the first part of Ephesians 5


Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

And they forget about the rest:

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.


So as Christian husband and wives, we are to submit ourselves to each other in love.


  1. Get rid of the flesh

Paul tells us that the story of Ishmael and Hagar is an allegory.  Ishmael is a type of the flesh, and Isaac a type of the Spirit.

Gal 4:22  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

Gal 4:23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.


Hagar is a type of the Law, and Sarah, a type of the New Covenant:


Gal 4:24  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Gal 4:25  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Gal 4:26  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Gal 4:27  For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.



Ishmael mocked Isaac:

Gal 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.


  1. Cast everything on faith

Abraham show great faith in sending them out with almost nothing.  He could have given them plenty, because he was very wealthy, but he gave them some bread and on bottle of water.


Paul gives us a little glimpse:

Gal 4:28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Gal 4:29  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Gal 4:30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

Gal 4:31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.


There is a constant battle going on in our lives between the flesh and the Spirit and we will either allow ourselves to be ruled by the flesh or the Spirit.  You can’t have both.


Gal 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.




Rom 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.


We can’t give the flesh any provisions.


But what about Ishmael, he didn’t ask to be born.  He didn’t have a choice in the matter.


Gen 21:13  And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.


Ishmael would be blessed because he was an offspring of Abraham but he would not be heir to the Promise.

Abraham will surely miss Ishmael, but he is showing here that he trusts God completely, knowing that God would do exactly what He said He would do.

So he takes a giant leap of faith and wakes up early without praying, begging, or pleading and does what the Lord has asked him to do.



About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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