There is something universal in the human desire to draw boundaries and barriers; to make sure that only the proper sorts of people or things are included in a community. The Bible is full of examples of God seemingly choosing between one group of people and rejecting another; loving one group and hating another. But the truth of the matter is more complicated, and for just about every biblical example of God rejecting one group over another group, we can find a story of God loving both and having a plan for each.
It is said that at the same moment that the Israelites rejoiced at the deaths of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, Moses could hear the sound of the angels weeping for the dead because they too were God’s children. God sent the children of Israel into exile and then used the power of their oppressors to return them to their homes many generations later. When Jesus’ disciples went into the world to proclaim the Gospel, they were sent to everyone, and the Holy Spirit fell on those who were recognized as Children of Abraham and those who were not.
Sometimes we need to wait a long time to fully understand God’s will and action in a particular moment. And sometimes there are two conflicting ways of understanding what God is doing – and both view are correct.
We hear that today in the story of Hagar and Ishmael, and of Sarah and Isaac.
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