Ken D. Trivette
SIBLING RIVALRY IN THE HOME
Genesis 21: 9-12
1. Dr. James Dobson, in his book, The Strong- Willed Child, writes:
"If American women were asked to indicate the most irritating feature of
child rearing, I'm convinced that sibling rivalry would get their unanimous
vote. Little children (and older ones too) are not content just to hate each
other in private. They attack one another like miniature warriors, mobilizing
their troops and probing for a weakness in the defensive line. They argue,
hit, kick, scream, grab toys, taunt, tattle, and sabotage the opposing
2. Every parent with more than one child knows about sibling rivalry. They
know about children fighting among themselves. Having 3 sons, I have had
to break up a few fights around my house through the years.
3. In the verses before us we see a case of sibling rivalry that was so
serious it resulted in one of the children having to leave home. Yet as we
look at the story we see a spiritual allegory of a case of sibling rivalry that
involves us all and an illustration of a separation that is necessary in our
case as it was Abraham's.
1.THE SONS IN THE FAMILY!
1. The story tells us to two brothers: Ishmael and Isaac. In verse 8,
reference is made to the weaning of Isaac. Jewish children were usually
weaned at about age three, so Isaac at this time was at least 3 years old.
Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86, 50 Ishmael would have been
around the age of seventeen.
2. In the book of Galatians we find that these two brothers are used by God
in the New Testament to serve as an example of the two natures of a
3. We read in Galatians 4:22-24, "For it is written, that Abraham had two
sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  But he who
was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman
was by promise.  Which things are an allegory...."
4. God used both the brothers and their mothers; Sarah and Hagar, to
illustrate an important spiritual truth. The word "allegory" in verse 24,
speaks simply of a comparison. God took the historical to demonstrate the
1. ISHMAEL WAS THE FLESH-CHILD ILLUSTRATING THE OLD MAN.
1. Galatians 4:23, speaks of Ishmael being born after the flesh. The story of
his birth is found in Genesis 16. Abraham and Sarah instead of waiting on
God to fulfill his promise took matters in their own hands. Abraham had a
son by the servant Hagar.
2. Ishmael was a child of man's doings and not God's. He was a child
conceived and born after the flesh. It is in that sense that he illustrates the
3. When we talk about the flesh we are talking about that part of us that
loves the world and longs for the world. It is that which controlled our life
before we were saved. It is that part of us that is natural and seeks not
God. It is that part of our unconverted and unsaved days that still exists.
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