Hostile Relations

After the story of Abraham’s death, and how Isaac and Ishmael buried him, we see the lineage of Ishmael and how, by the time Ishmael died, his people were alienated.  From whom?  Pretty much everyone, including relatives.  How do we reconcile?  Enter Jesus…

12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.

13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. 17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. 18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
Genesis 25:12-18

And so it begins.  Even though Ishmael and Isaac somehow managed to reconcile long enough to bury their father, the descendants of Ishmael lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.

We don’t know why and we don’t know how this happened.  We just know that they were hostile toward their relatives.  Not just to Israel (who come from one line of Abraham) – hostile toward all the tribes related to them.  That’s a lot of people.

And if they treated their relations this way, how were they treating their enemies?

When people set themselves apart and become islands, it is difficult to build bridges and inroads.  Enter Jesus.  Jesus cuts through conflict.  Remember that he told his disciples that his mother and his brothers are those who hear his word and put it into practice. 

Those who practice love and grace through faith become neighbours and kin. 

Hostility has no place in the truth and grace of God.  Which brings me back to me.  I’m evaluating whether I have made myself an island from anyone – relative or not…

In the name of Jesus, I want to be at peace….


Marc Kinna

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