But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Genesis 21:12)
From the beginning, there is only one Good Seed — and then there is everything else. I say this because, from the beginning, there is only one truth and that is the Word of God which Yeshua likens to a seed in the Parable of the Sower. Likewise there is only one seed of Abraham, not multiple seeds. God made it clear to Abraham that his seed would not be propagated through Ishmael (nor would it be with Esau in years to come). The seed of Abraham was to be through Isaac, the son of promise.
Man always looks at the natural side of things; in this case most would consider Ishmael to be Abraham’s firstborn and, consequently, the rightful heir to Abraham. But the Creator doesn’t deal with spiritual issues in flesh and blood terms. In other words, from God’s point of view, Abraham’s firstborn was not the one that Abraham put his seed into but was to be the one that God put His Seed in — the one that would receive His Word. This concept was always intended to point us to the fact that the Promised One, the only begotten Son of God, would be the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Paul addressed this in Galatians 3.
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Messiah. (Galatians 3:16)
The beauty of this is that those of us who have been born again have been born of God, which is to say, we have received His Seed (Word) and thus we are considered children of God. Consequently, we too are regarded as the seed of Abraham and have become heirs to the promises made to him. As Paul said:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Yeshua. For as many of you as were baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)
So let us rejoice in the knowledge that we have been given great and wonderful promises. At the same time, let us willingly embrace the responsibility that comes with those promises and “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12)
Blessings and Shalom,