Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Doctrine of the Wild Ass. GEN 16:12
This week we returned to our main passage in Genesis. Let's review verses 1-10 of Gen 16: "Now Sarai, wife of Abram did not become pregnant for him, and she had a female slave, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar, So Sarai said to Abram, Now behold, Jehovah has prevented me from bearing children [or an heir for you Abram]. Please go in to my female slave; perhaps I shall obtain children through her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her female slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as his mistress. And he fornicated with Hagar, and she became pregnant; and when she was aware that she had become pregnant, her mistress was unimportant in her eyes or in her thinking. And Sarai said to Abram, The wrong done me should have been judged by you. I have given my female slave into your arms; but when she saw that she had become pregnant, I was despised or unimportant in her eyes or her thinking. May the Lord judge between you and me. But Abram replied to Sarai, Behold, your female slave in under your authority; do to her what is good in your sight. So Sarai treated her harshly, and she [Hagar] fled from her presence. Now the angel of the Lord [this is the Lord Jesus Christ] found her or confronted her by the oasis in the desert, by an oasis on the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's female slave, where have you come from and where are you going? And she said, I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai. Then the angel of the Lord [Jesus Christ] said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority. Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, [and we have seen that this is an if], if you obey the Lord and go back and submit to the authority of Sarai, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count."
As we continue, we see that Hagar did obey from her own volition and so the promise of The Lord Jesus Christ in verse 10 would come true for her. In this fascinating study of Hagar we see her taking the Lord's advice and obeying the perfect counsel from perfect God. She's going to accept this counsel because she recognizes Him as God, and therefore infinitely superior to herself, so she's going back to a situation where she had been wronged and abused and she's going to trust in the Supreme Court of Heaven to handle the situation. Because of Hagar obeying the Lord in verse 10, certain blessings are described, regarding her progeny or her descendants.
The point we will see, is that it is possible to be blessed without having true happiness. God can provide certain things, but true happiness depends on capacity, especially the capacity to appreciate what you have been given. God is going to give certain blessings to this woman as a new believer, however blessings given to a believer who is not in spiritual adulthood, while still a blessing, have no happiness connected with them.
True happiness comes from spiritual adulthood or having maximum doctrine resident in the soul, which Hagar doesn't have. She is a woman who definitely is going to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior, and who is in heaven right now, but she never had enough spiritual momentum from the function of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine to enjoy the happiness that God provides. Unfortunately, this is also the negative eulogy of the majority of God's people.
For Hagar, the lack of true happiness is not because of her fornication, that's already blotted out. Always remember on the day of our salvation there are two verses applied specifically to us, first ISA 43:25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins."
The second verse is ISA 44:22 "I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
Having certain things does not mean happiness, but having those things with capacity can bring happiness. Remember this principle: Capacity for life plus the things associated with happiness equals blessing.
In the case of Hagar she is being given a covenant for the Arabs and certain blessings but they do not mean happiness. In fact, if she truly loved Abram she never could be happy because in chapter 21, she's going to lose him permanently.
So then, verse 10 and the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, GEN 16:10 "Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count."
The "angel of the Lord" is The Lord Jesus Christ as we have already noted. The Hebrew verb for "said" is amar and this word indicates that much more was said than what we have in this verse. He is now about to communicate the blessings for her obedience. The promise of blessing from God comes as a result of her adjusting to the justice of God. The exact moment of Hagar's salvation is not known, but the declaration of her salvation will be given a little later in the passage, Gen 16:13, "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, Thou art a God who sees; for she said, Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?"
Hagar is permitted to have a look at the Divine Decrees when the Lord says in GEN 16:10 "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count."
Anytime, anyone can see a part of the divine decrees it has to be construed as a blessing, but not the blessing that includes happiness, this is a different type of blessing all together. There are blessings which include happiness for mature believers, but there are also blessings that do not.
Hagar's descendants refers to one of the most vigorous of the Arab groups. The seed of Abraham goes all the way to Jesus Christ. The seed of Hagar goes to Mohammed. Isaac, will perpetuate a new race, the Jews, while Ishmael will perpetuate the most vigorous of the Arab nations. No one can count the Jews, there are too many, neither can anyone count the Arab's from Ishmael. Ishmael will be a major source of the Arabs found throughout the world as well as followers of Islam. Mohammed claims his descent from Ishmael and there is every evidence that is absolutely correct. Therefore, this is a part of our Lord's pronouncement of blessing but there's no happiness in this blessing because not only do the Arab's fight against the world, but they are constantly fighting among themselves.
The prophecy is given in verse 11, GEN 16:11 "The angel of the Lord said to her further, Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction."
Hagar, of course, knew that she was pregnant, she did not know, of course the sex of the potential child. Therefore, it is of great significance that the one who spoke to her diagnosed correctly the sex of the child who would be born and also that the birth would occur. The proper noun, Jishma`e'l or Ishmael means Jehovah hears. Isn't that interesting that his name means Jehovah hears not Allah hears.
In this verse the Hebrew word shama means Jehovah has heard of your affliction or your misery. This brings us right back to the divine decrees, this says that Jehovah heard Hagar's misery in eternity past and therefore Ishmael was a part of the divine decrees.
Now, the name Ishmael, (Jehovah hears) reveals the fact that justice demands justice. It was the justice of God manifest to Hagar which resulted in her conversion in Verse 13 and it will be the justice of God that deals with Abram and Sarai for their abuse of this victim called Hagar.
So the verse says "Furthermore, the angel of Jehovah said to her, behold you have become pregnant and you shall give birth to a son, therefore you shall call his name Ishmael, Jehovah hears, because Jehovah has heard your misery."
Notice that it is the misery or affliction issue which brings a new concept into the principle of justice demanding justice.
Here is an unbeliever crying out for help and God will take the side of the unbeliever against two believers. The unjust, unfair misery of the unbeliever, brings in and introduces the justice of God.
God's justice to man lies with this woman, who obviously has sinned, who obviously has failed, but also is the one who has been maltreated and abused and blamed the most. Abram maltreated her by not freeing her and giving her some security and protecting her from Sarai who maltreated her by abusing her authority. Both of them developed a very bad case of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is an intrusion on the justice of God and it is hypocritical and phony, but more than that it is evil. One of the worst things in the world is self-righteousness.
Self-righteousness is a manifestation of the total depravity of man.
Self-righteousness is worse than sin because it is evil and it totally contradicts the purpose of the divine decrees, which is bring glory to God, not man.
Abram will pay more for his self-righteousness than he did for the fornication, evil is worse than sin.
In the reaping of the whirlwind, it is his self-righteousness and his refusal to accept the responsibility for his own decisions and ignore the relationship with Hagar, which he himself set up, that will come back to haunt him.
Sarai's self-righteousness will also be dealt with.
While Hagar was happy to become the bed-partner of Abram, and even though the sins involved were accomplished in ignorance, she is still responsible for them because ignorance is no excuse. Nevertheless, she is definitely a case for the supreme court of heaven.
When a person has been a victim of every type of malpractice and injustice from man, God takes up the case even when an unbeliever is involved, this is the justice of God. So we have the victim receiving the justice of God, including salvation, including deliverance, including a future prophecy.
The new race descendent is the Jewish descendent. We will see that the Abram is also the father of many nations not just the father of one race and one nation. One race of course is the Jew, one nation Israel, but he is also the father of many nations.
Remember that Mohammed is a descendent from Ishmael, and just as we will see in the next verse, Ishmael is a wild ass of a man, so is Islam a wild ass of a religion.
The justice of God takes a woman who is the victim of Abram's injustice, the victim of Sarai's injustice. Injustice plus injustice equals divine intervention through grace. Divine justice manifests itself in grace to Hagar as we have seen.
We have seen first of all how the Lord came to her, and how He interrogated her, (not that He needed information, for He already had all the facts), but it was a test of her honesty and she was strictly very honest with Him.
She was not only helpless and hopeless, but she was honest, the only honest person in the whole picture.
She said in effect that she was a runaway slave, she didn't make any bones about it.
The name Ishmael, or Jehovah hears, opens up the principle, the doctrine, that the justice of God is for the unbeliever as well as the believer. In time, where there is maltreatment, the injustice of man to man, there is always the perfect answer from the supreme court of heaven.
In GEN 16:11 the Lord Jesus Christ tells her the name of the son, before He tells her the administration of divine justice in her case. He has told her what to do first, return to authority. Get back under the authority of the woman who has maltreated you, but this time, you go under her authority with My protection.
Some principles involved before we move to the next verse.
1. Misery or affliction has called, we call this a voiceless prayer to God. She didn't call on God, but in effect, the supreme court of heaven has perfect radar and picks up every case of man's injustice to man.
2. The soul in torment in misery ascends to God where the justice of God deals with the facts. We know that the case is now before the supreme court of heaven by the name of Ishmael, God hears.
That means more than God hears, it means God is cognizant of all the facts and justice will administer the situation.
3. While the interpretation of Deuteronomy 32:10 applies to Israel it certainly portrays the grace of God to Hagar on this occasion.
DEU 32:10-12 "He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him [by application that's Hagar], He cared for him or her, He guarded him or her as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him."
This is a perfect description of divine justice.
4. A new doctrine has opened up, namely God's justice to the unbeliever. God's justice to those who are the victims of the injustice of man. There must be divine justice because again the principle, man's injustice to man cannot be resolved by man.
5. While Abram is out of fellowship in fornication with Hagar, the principle of blessing by association still applies, since Abram is carnal and not reversionistic and there will be blessing by association. There is evil involved, but the evil has not taken Abram all the way to reversionism as we shall see. While neither Hagar nor Abram deserve anything from God, here is grace and justice combined in the Lord Jesus Christ coming to Hagar as the angel of Jehovah and providing for her, not only justice, but comfort and assurance.
6. The next verse not only describes Ishmael, but it describes the entire Arabic race which comes from Ishmael.
Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet represents something and the first letter of a name or word is very revealing. The first letter of Ishmael's name is a Jod equivalent to our "J" and in the Hebrew, the ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and Jod represents a hand.
It is no coincidence that GEN 16:12 says "And he will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers."
Abram is the father of both Ishmael and Isaac. These two are half brothers in history. Both are antithetical and antagonistic. The antagonism of the mother's Sarai and Hagar is reflected in their descendants up until this day, the Jews and the Arabs who are descended from Ishmael. Not all Arabs are descended from Ishmael, but the dominant Arab group definitely is. Five hundred years of Arab conquests came from the descendants of Ishmael, they almost conquered the world. It is not surprising, therefore to note the prophecy of the traits of Ishmael's descendants.
The source of all of that information is in verse 12, "And he [this also refers to his descendants] will be a wild ass of a man,"
The Hebrew word for "will be" is the verb hayah (haw-yaw); which means to become emphatically, to be established as, to remain, to continue.
The word pere', (peh'-reh); refers to a wild ass, one who runs wild disrepecting authority; it literally means an onager: a fast running wild ass having a lot of hair on his face.
The word pere is where we get our word pariah from which means those who are outcasts or in exile, and it comes to mean a wild ass.
So it should be translated literally, he will become a wild ass of a man but "he" refers to Ishmael and his descendants.
Ishmael and his descendants reject authority and that's what a wild ass means in this passage, they will be anti-authority having no respect for human rights and property, as we have seen in the attack upon our nation.
It is interesting that the mother went back and submitted herself to authority, but her son was always anti-authority.
The Arabs have always been anti-authority, they almost conquered the world during Medieval times but one of the reasons why the Arabs did not conquer the world, is because they never could stop fighting among themselves.
The Arab's always get vigorous when they're fighting someone else, and just as soon as they've won a battle, then they all start fighting among themselves.
Sudan's sworn enemy is Egypt who is angry at Sudan because Sudan is harboring Egyptian terrorists who tried to assassinate the Egyptian President.
Iraq and Kuwait hate each other.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting with each other.
Algeria is Islamic, 100,000 Muslims were slaughtered by their own fellow Muslims in the last decade.
Probably the greatest war we've seen in the last 20 years is the war between Iran and Iraq which had nothing to with Jews and Christians.
But the whole world will never be Arab, because the key to maintaining what you have conquered, and maintaining freedom, is self-discipline. When you get away from self-discipline and freedom you distort freedom, you abuse freedom, and eventually you destroy freedom.
That is why we see so many Arab nations that are not free, but they are in slavery to a dictator or a group. Their women are considered second-class citizens and treated as such.
The thing that makes freedom possible for all of us is discipline and authority.
This is why Paul said in GAL 5:1 "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
Then in GAL 5:13 "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
Without discipline and authority we could not enjoy the benefits of freedom, they would be abused and destroyed.
Now, in this passage the wild ass portrays children rejecting authority and never having to get under authority.
Abram never exercised the discipline over Ishmael that he did over Issac. He exercised no discipline over the six illegitmate children he had by Keturah. For thirteen years he did nothing to discipline his son Ishmael and because he did not discipline his older son; his older son abused his younger son, Isaac, who was the true heir and the perpetuation of the Jewish race.
So, the principle of authority is not only delegated, but also invented by God.
God invented authority as the environment of freedom for the function of human volition.
Authority comes before human freedom.
When Isaac is only ten years old, and Ishmael is 23, he will be entering into inordinate competition.
So Ishmael will be constantly competing against Isaac and therefore he will be seen ridiculing and bullying his younger brother in later passages.
And when Sarah sees it, that's the end of the line in Genesis 21.
And the fascinating thing is that this is still happening today between the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael.
Ishmael will never have a true love in any direction, toward God, toward a woman, or toward man.
He will be a man of violence, emotionally and mentally unstable.