11: Genesis 21:12


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 11

The Messiah will come from the Seed of Abraham, his son of faith, Isaac.

Old Testament Prediction:

Genesis 21:12 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.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Romans 9:7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”


In order for the Lord to fulfill His word to Abraham, it was going to take some time. God does not often complete His work in us speedily. The accomplishment of God’s will in our life, usually requires many years for the Lord to work on us, and in us, before He accomplishes His purpose for us.

This is not because the Lord cannot move quickly, but instead, the delay is due to our inability to trust Him. God is always willing to move us to the next level. It is we who stop along the way and thereby make our journey often a very long process. As a result, we endure many trials and setbacks, before the Lord can accomplish His will for our life.

In Genesis chapter 20, Abraham arrives in Egypt out of fear. A monumental famine has come upon the world that has caused panic in his heart. Instead of maintaining his trust in the Lord, Abraham directs his focus on the prospect that he may not be able to find food for himself and his family. As it is often the case, the things we fear most are much greater in our imagination than they will turn out in reality.

Instead of trusting in the Lord, and continuing on to the land that God promised to bring him into, Abraham takes a side journey into Egypt. The irony of this lapse in Abraham’s faith, is that this decision will cost his descendants a four hundred year sojourn in a land that will enslave them.

Upon his arrival, Abraham instructs Sarah to tell Abimelech, the Pharaoh of Egypt, that she is his sister instead of his wife. The kings of Egypt were known to take a woman of beauty from her husband and have him executed. In fear of his life, Abraham allows Sarah to lie for him.

Abraham’s fears were realized when Abimelech questions Sarah about her marital status, and she states that she is Abraham’s sister. Abimelech takes Sarah into his harem which greatly displeased the Lord. By the end of Genesis chapter 20, we learn that the Lord has shut the womb of all the women of Abimelech’s household.

Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, “She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.

This is truly an amazing exchange between the Lord and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Abimelech seems to be a righteous man, and willing to take direction from God. His heart and his motives are describes as having integrity. Notice that the Lord informs us that He prevented Pharaoh from sinning against Him. How this happened we can only guess. Perhaps the Spirit of God spoke to Pharaoh’s heart when Sarah came into his harem, and he felt a conviction in his conscience that he should not touch her. The Bible is filled with examples of pagan kings who were used by the Lord because their hearts were receptive to God (Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, the the Roman Centurion).

Genesis 20:7 (The Lord Continues) Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

This is the first occasion where we learn that Abraham is a prophet? This gives us greater interest in the words that Abraham speaks. When Abraham is acting under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and is being guided by God, the words that He says, are the words of God. We also discover that Abraham is not always a prophet, sometimes he is a liar and ruled by fear. It is nice to know that the Lord can use us even though we sometimes make mistakes in our judgement.

Genesis 20:8-12 So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. 9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” 10 Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” 11 And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. 12 But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

After a revelation from God, Pharaoh asks Abraham what in the world was he thinking when he told him that Sarah was his sister? (Vs. 10, what did you have in view?). It was simply fear that caused this great man of faith to have a temporary lapse in his faith. We discover that Abraham’s lie was only a partial lie. Sarah actually is his sister from a different mother (vs. 12). It is important to understand from God’s perspective that a partial lie is still a lie. We never see a time in the Bible when the Lord excuses or minimizes our sins. We might believe that some sins are not as serious as others, such as half truth or a “white lie”. From God’s view, these minimal sins are just as serious. They separates us from Him and disqualify us from receiving eternal life. Jesus had to die for the liar, as much as He did for the murderer.

It seems important to highlight these lapses in Abraham’s faith because he is held in such high regard by both the Jew and the Christian. Abraham’s journey of faith brought him great victories, but he also suffered many spiritual defeats. The patience and longsuffering of God is what really stands out in the midst of both of these contrasts of Abraham’s life. It was the Lord’s goodness in leading Abraham into his victories while staying faithful to him when he collapsed in fear and suffered a lack of trust in God.

We might wonder at this point, why Pharaoh did not have Abraham and Sarah executed for their deception. Egyptian kings were known for their lack of patience with insolent subjects. It was likely by this time, that after experiencing the judgement of God in making his wives unable to conceive, Abimelech had a healthy respect for the God of Israel.

When Abraham prays for Abimelech, God opens the wombs of his wives and female servants.

Genesis 20:17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

As we come to chapter 21, we see that because of Abraham’s prayer for Abimelech, the Lord also opens the womb of Sarah and she is able to conceive the son that was promised by God almost 25 years before.

Genesis 21:1-3 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac.

This has been a very long process for Abraham, as God has been developing faith in him. From the beginning, God had chosen one specific line of descendants to bring His Son into the world. The offspring of Abraham would have to be men who had also developed faith in what God had said. It was the ultimate intention of the Lord to show the world that faith is the only method by which a man can obtain the promises of God, not by his own works.

Abraham has made many mistakes, the greatest of which was to not wait on the Lord and allow Him to bring the son that was promised, in His own good time. When Abraham took Hagar and conceived Ishmael, this became a work of Abraham’s flesh. God explained to Abraham that those who would please Him, will do so by faith.

All attempts at obtaining God’s favor by self effort, will be rejected by Him.

As Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah, his presence becomes a point of increasing contention between Hagar, her son Ishmael, Sarah, and her son Isaac. Sarah resents Hagar for the son that she conceived by her husband. Because bitterness and resentment has filled Sarah’s heart, the situation requires Hagar to depart their household and go out into the world alone.

God tells Abraham to heed the request of Sarah and send Hagar and Ishmael away. This of course displeases Abraham because he loves Ishmael so greatly.

As God instructs Abraham to do as Sarah has requested, He speaks into reality this eleventh Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfilled:

Genesis 21:12 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.”

In this very small verse of scripture, we find an amazing prophetic promise of God. From the line of Isaac, a future “Seed” from a woman (Mary) from where God promised Eve in Genesis 3:15, that her future Seed, (the Messiah) will arrive in the world, who will be the Savior of all people.

See the following prophecies for more information on the future Seed who will be the Messiah:

Prophecy 1

A promise made that a “Messiah”, or “Savior” will be given, who will be born by a miraculous virgin birth, (The Seed of a Woman) without the aid of a human father.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

Prophecy 2

The Messiah shall “bruise the head” of satan, thereby destroying his works forever.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.

Prophecy 6

The promises that God made to Abram, were promises made to his “Seed”, the Messiah.

Genesis 12:7 “Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your seed I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.“

Prophecy 13

God’s acceptance of Abraham and Isaac was based on their belief that salvation is obtained by trusting in the resurrected of an only son from the dead. Those who believe this are “The Seed of Abraham and Isaac”.

Genesis 22:16-18 “…and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Prophecy 49

The Messiah will be from the seed of David.

2 Samuel 7:12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.”

Prophecy 55

The Messiah will come from the seed of David.

1 Chronicles 17:11 “And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.”

Prophecy 164

The Messiah will be born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin (Almah) shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Prophecy 295

The Messiah will be born of a virgin.

Jeremiah 31:22 How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—A woman shall encompass a man.”

When we arrive in the New Testament at the Book of Romans, Paul, who is an expert in the Old Testament scriptures, reveals that not all of the “seed” of Abraham are chosen of God, only those who are from faith:

Romans 9:7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Jesus was born from a line of people to whom God had slowly, and methodically developed faith. It was not that there was anything wrong with Ishmael, except for the fact that he was born out of Abraham’s lapse in faith and was his attempt in his flesh, to help fulfill God’s promise. Ishmael and his descendants have suffered greatly from Abraham’s lapse in faith in the same way that the entire human race suffers to the present day, because of Adam’s lapse in faith.

The fulfillment of this eleventh Old Testament prophecy is found in Romans 9:7 above, where Jesus comes from the seed of Abraham. The book of Hebrews makes a stunning declaration that it was by the suffering that Jesus endured as a man, that He learned obedience.

Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

You can be encouraged today if you are suffering through a trial; the purpose of all our trials is to build character in us. If God were simply interested in our comfort, He would never permit suffering or difficulty in our life. The fact that the Lord does allow us to suffer on occasion, is evidence that we are His sons and daughters. We are being taken through a few moments of difficulty so that we can grow in our personal faith and get to know who we really are under trial.

Jesus as the Son of God, learned obedience as a man. In the same way, all of us who place our faith in the promises of God, we must ourselves learn obedience by our own moments of suffering.

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