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|Misconceptions and False Perceptions|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009 00:00|
Ishmael's blessing/Our curse
I taught two Sunday's in a row recently about Ishmael in the Bible. Tracing his story starting in Genesis 16 it's a quick read through to 25 where the trail cools. His story, and that of his descendants are of many firsts in the Bible.The highlights are these:
It is my contention that given the biblical firsts and all the significant events surrounding Ishmael, that God has taken special care of Ishmael and his descendants. Shouldn't we as Christians be more attentive to his descendants today? Instead we believe myths like God cursed Ishmael, or that all the trouble in the Middle East today is because of Ishmael... this is not found in the Bible. We have likely formed these negative impressions primarily due to recent events of the last 50 years.
Even certain modern Bible versions translate the prophecy about Ishmael in Gen 16 wrongly when they say 'he shall live in hostility towards his brothers' (NIV)... the original language is talking about geography (to the East). Other versions indicate 'over against' (ESV), or 'in the presence of' (KJV) which is better, but, best and most literally the NASB renders it 'to the East of his brothers'.
The hatred of Muslims today, especially Arabs has got to stop if we are to get in line with the Bible, and God's plan for Ishmael's descendants. God loves all nations, especially the descendants of Abraham, Issac AND Ishmael. You can read a more thorough treatment of this subject in the chapter 'Ishmael's Blessing' here.