Charles and Norma Ellis
1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.
8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10Wherefore 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.
11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.
12And 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.
God had promised Abraham that he would make of him a great nation. The years came and went, years of waiting, sometimes in faith, sometimes in discouragement. Finally, when Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah was long past the age of child-bearing, God granted them a son!
Sarah had laughed at the thought of the birth of a son. When he was born she even named him Laughter (Isaac). This was different from her scornful laugh when the angel announced she should bear this son! This was a laugh of joy at the keeping by God of His years-old promise. And Abraham made a great feast the day Isaac was weaned.
But all was not laughter in the home. There was the other mother and her son. Abraham had love for this son, too. The jealousy of Sarah, springing from her own decision to help God by offering Hagar to her husband, was like a knife in Abraham's bosom. How could he endure to see the discord in the home? And how could he bear to see Hagar and Ishmael sent away?
Oddly enough, God told Abraham to heed Sarah and send the bondwoman and her son away. God's purpose was not to be thwarted. It was the seed of the promise, the seed of the freewoman, who was to be the heir, not the seed of the bondwoman.
God was teaching lessons that men would not fully comprehend until He explained them centuries later through Paul. We today, Paul tells us, are the seed of Sarah, the freewoman, the seed of promise. We are spiritual children of Abraham in the great family of the faithful. We are in that company that is as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore for multitude!
That is why we, as the children of faithful Abraham, should glory in a salvation that is by faith. That is why we should not attempt to reduce our salvation to a system of bondage to works as did the Galatians. We should not act as though we are born of the slave woman!
We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."
Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.
Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.
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