Archive for May 7, 2011

God has been leading me to look deeper into what divides people.  He wants me to understand the core reasons behind adversities at all levels.  As I have prayed and sought His face about this, I began to think of the account of Ishmael and Isaac in the book of Genesis.

For instance, both Isaac and Ishmael were blessed by Abraham their father.  Each was given specific blessings as is seen in this account:

Genesis 17:18-20 (AMP)And [he] said to God, Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!
But God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed, and you shall call his name Isaac [laughter]; and I will establish My covenant or solemn pledge with him for an everlasting covenant and with his posterity after him.  And as for Ishmael, I have heard and heeded you: behold, I will bless him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly; He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. [Fulfilled in Gen. 25:12-18.]”

Personally, I continually pray for Israel, Jerusalem and the Jewish people.  This has been my practice for most of my life.  We encourage all who read our writings to do the same thing.  In obedience to the Lord, I am praying for the descendents of Isaac.

But I have never made it a point to also pray for the descendents of Ishmael.  Not sure why except that I have always heard that Ishmael and all his descendents are cursed by God.  So, I did not want to go against God.  I am finding the charge that Ishmael was cursed by God and not blessed by God is simply not true.

The Holy Spirit is calling me to study out the divisions between Isaac and Ishmael.  He is leading me to determine why they happened.  Perhaps the “Genesis” of familiar and familial spirits (more on this below) that still roam the earth today seeking to steal, kill and destroy find their origins in part back with Ishmael and Isaac.

John 10:10 (NASB)  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Surely, I now pray earnestly and regularly for the descendents of Ishmael as well.  The Lord has strongly directed me to do so.  Think of the difference this could make in the present fomenting controversies, wars and terrorism.

In some research recently, I ran across this piece from Dale Edwin who has moved to the Middle East in pursuit on understanding the division between the descendents of Abraham Ishmael and Isaac.  I have quoted the source so that you can go study this out for yourself if you like.  It is a challenging read and I hope you enjoy it.

Dale Edwin, “The Outer Court,” Misconceptions and False Perceptions Tuesday, 02 June 2009

Tracing his story starting in Genesis 16 it’s a quick read through to 25 where the trail cools. His (Ishmael) story and that of his descendants are of many firsts in the Bible.

The highlights are these:

  1. The mysterious Angel of the Lord (possibly Christ himself), first appeared to Hagar while she was pregnant with Ishmael… Hagar knew God by some of the first names he is noted for in the Bible as ‘The God who Sees’ and ‘The God who Hears’
  2. Ishmael was blessed by God, and the first to receive a blessing of lineage and offspring.
  3. Ishmael was the first born son of Abram, and God honored Abram’s prayer ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before you!’
  4. In IS 42 it is prophesied that the tribes of Kedar and Sheba will worship God with acceptance. It is rare for tribes to be pointed out in this manner… Kedar is the ancestor of the Muslim prophet Mohammad.
  5. First to worship – It has been discussed in other places that descendants of Ishmael were likely the first to come and give gifts from the East in Matthew 1 prepared forehand by Daniel’s teaching hundreds of years previous as the chief of the Wise men of the East.
  6. First to hear – It may be that God has some kind of priority for Ishmael’s line for Paul spent his first 3 years in ministry in Arabia (see Gal 1:17), the city of the Nabateans, who were descendants of Ishmael.

It is my contention that given the biblical firsts and all the significant events surrounding Ishmael, 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. The NIV translates Gen 16 wrongly when it says ‘he shall live in hostility towards his brothers’… the original language is talking about geography (to the East). Other versions indicate ‘over against’ (ESV) which is better.

The hatred of Muslims today, especially Arabs has got to stop if we are to get in line with the Bible and place of Ishmael in God’s plan. God loves all nations, especially the descendants of Abraham, Isaac AND Ishmael.

SOME DEFINITIONS OF TERMS  (Far from complete or comprehensive)

FAMILIAR SPIRITS:  (Feel free to help clarify or expand, etc.)

These are spirits (demons) masquerading as part of your familiar surroundings and relationships.  Some may be so common in your experience that you really do not think of them as attacking, opposing and seeking to destroy.  But they are.  In my historical family, a familiar spirit would be a spirit of “rejection.”  It is so common that it just seems like “part of the family” and therefore not a force to be resisted, confronted and eventually cast out.  This may require more people of prayer than just you.  It could require knowledge and cooperation of your entire family and all others involved praying.  There is an old foundational book “Pigs in the Parlor” that might be good to read and re-read a few times.  You have the power over these spirits in Jesus’ name.  Your authority is Jesus himself.  You pray with Jesus by your side.  Victory is guaranteed.  He never loses a battle.

 FAMILIAL SPIRITS:  (Feel free to help clarify or expand, etc.)

Again, in this case the “familial” is just part of the “family” in which you and your relatives live.  Everyone knows “this is just the way it is.”  We have mental illness, alcoholism, etc. and we perhaps acknowledge it but it seems to be just the way our family is and has always been.  In the Philippines with our work with poorest of the poor children, the familial spirits are those of the parents and grandparents who are abjectly poor and always have been.  It is just expected by the parents and grandparents that the children will all be the same and repeat the endemic poverty of their heritage.  The “familial spirits” see to it that this happens.  It is a battle in prayer and provision to bring about change because of these familial spirits.  Some of the brightest people ever were born to idiots or mentally deficient parents.  But some descendents decide to break the mold and get out from under that controlling familial spirit of mental deficiencies.

FORGIVENESS:  (Feel free to help clarify or expand, etc.)

Being compared to the layers of an union, forgiveness usually comes one layer at a time until the whole onion is gone and gone forever.  Forgiven hurts and wounds are alive in the memory but are no longer energized once forgiveness is complete.  Of all subjects in the Scriptures, forgiveness is almost a constant teaching and directive from our Lord.  He places the highest priority on it saying if we do not forgive other, He will not forgive us.

SINS OF OUR FATHERS:  (Feel free to help clarify or expand, etc.)

Numbers 14:18 (NLT) “‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’”  This is a serious matter.  The father(s) must repent.  The descendents must forgive and repent as well at every level no matter how painful or how long it takes.  Almost everything demonic emanates from unforgiveness.

Blessings and prayers, Ras

(Please hit “Reply” at the end of this article if you choose to share your prayers and thoughts).