NBC Sunday School Manual For January 9, 2022 : Topic – HAGAR AND ISHMAEL NOT FORGOTTEN

By | January 9, 2022

NBC Sunday School Manual For January 9, 2022 : Topic – HAGAR AND ISHMAEL NOT FORGOTTEN.

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Background Scripture: Genesis 21:8-20

Lesson Scripture: Genesis 21:8-20.


God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation. Genesis 21:17-18.


By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:

• Explain why God cared for Hagar and Ishmael after they were sent away by Abraham;

• Identify common causes of rivalry in the family;

• Trust in God’s presence and provision, even when they are experiencing injustice.


Polygamy is a system of marriage whereby a man marries more than one woman. Experience has shown that the delay in childbearing, tradition and the inability of some women to give birth to male children sometimes make some men marry a second wife, without minding the troubles that are associated with it. Sarai, Abram’s wife was barren and so she could not give birth to children of her own. In Genesis chapter 16, she told her husband to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar, so that she can raise a family through her. Abram consented and slept with Hagar who bore him a son, Ishmael. Sarai’s idea was an ancient custom to ensure the birth of a male child who will succeed Abram. The same practice is prevalent in Africa and some other parts of the world, though the practice is not without its attending problems of rivalry, hatred, envy, anger fight and sometimes murder.

The decision of Abram and Sarai to have an alternative plan of bearing a child was the beginning of crisis in their home. Before this time, Abram and Sarai had lived in peace. The birth of Ishmael led to the painful separation of Hagar and her child, Ishmael from Abraham. The question is “How can people find assurance of God’s presence and provision when their circumstances change?”The focus of today’s lesson is on the promise God made to Hagar and her son, even in their unpleasant circumstance.


A. THE BIRTH OF ISAAC:[Genesis 21:8-10]

In chapter 15 of the book of Genesis, God entered into a covenant relationship with Abram and promised to bless him with many descendants. Although he had no children as at the time, he believed that God would keep His promise (Genesis 15:6). However, the promise was not fulfilled until chapter 21, when Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son, at her old age. The child grew and, possibly because of the circumstances that surrounded his birth, his father, Abraham gave a great feast when he was weaned. According to the ancient culture, weaning a child was usually marked by a ceremony. Sarah who was already overwhelmed with the joy of motherhood was provoked when Ishmael whom Hagar, an Egyptian woman, bore was mocking Isaac. Immediately, she commanded Abram to get rid of the slave woman (Hagar) and her son (Ishmael) so that he would not have a share in the inheritance with her son, Isaac (v. 10). Apparently, Sarah was offended by the conduct of Ishmael toward Isaac. She saw him as a competitor or a threat to fulfilling the promise of God that Abraham’s own son will be his heir (Genesis 15:4).

The birth of Isaac was the fulfilment of God’s promise that Sarah would bear a son. Even though the maidservant gave birth to a son before the birth of Isaac, he was not qualified to be Abraham’s heir. Sarah saw Ishmael as a prospective threat to Isaac’s inheritance, therefore, she persuaded Abraham to send the child and his mother to some distant country. Like the case of Sarah and Ishmael, many families (especially polygamous homes) are in disarray because of rivalry among the children. Sometimes, the causes are associated with who is the most loved, intelligent, appreciated, supported or influential. As Christians, we should eschew bitterness, jealousy and every form of hostility and love one another, as Christ has loved us. We should allow the love of God to permeate our hearts, celebrate the success of people and share one another’s burden. When this is done, there will be peace and progress in our homes and church to the glory of God.


1. What should be our attitude when the promise of God is fulfilled in our lives?

2. Was Sarah justified by her action ordering Abraham to send Hagar and her son away? Why or why not?

B. HAGAR AND ISHMAEL SENT AWAY: [Genesis 21:11-14]

Sarah’s admonition to Abraham to send Hagar and her son Ishmael away did not please Abraham. He was greatly troubled. Perhaps as Abraham pondered on what to do, God spoke to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned” (v.12) By implication, Hagar’s son is not the child of promise (Romans 9:8). Nevertheless, God promised to bless Ishmael and make him into a nation because he is Abraham’s offspring. Abraham’s quick response to God’s command, despite the fact that it was a difficult task, is quite commendable. He made adequate preparation for them and with the child on his mother’s back, he sent them away the next morning. In frustration, the mother and child wandered into the wilderness of Beersheba (v.14), in the northern part of the Negev, south of the land of Israel.

When Hagar and her son were sent away, apart from the provision of food and water, there was no further instruction regarding their destination or welfare. Abraham demonstrated prompt obedience and acted according to God’s command, as it has been his lifestyle (Genesis 12:4). God is just in all His ways and He does not reason like humankind. Whenever He gives instructions He expects complete obedience. Abraham’s action in the passage should serve as a lesson to believers on the need to obey God, no matter how difficult the command may seem. Such obedience usually attracts God’s blessings.


1. What should be the attitude of a man when his wife gives him counsel as seen in our passage?

2. Discuss others problems that are associated with polygamy with examples.

C. THE CRY OF A MOTHER IN ANGUISH: [Genesis 21:15-2]

Hagar’s experiences in the wilderness of Beersheba with her son were quite the opposite of her usual lifestyle when they were with Abraham and Sarah her mistress. Soon, her water got finished and she was left with no option. In her anguish, she kept the child a little distance away and said to herself, “7 cannot watch the boy die”and she began to cry. God heard her and sent a message of hope through an angel in verse 17. He said to her:

• “What is the matter, Hagar?” In fact, Hagar was already dejected, lonely and frustrated, not knowing that God knew and was interested in her.

• “Do not be afraid” This was God’s assurance to her not to be afraid probably of what to eat, where to stay, her well-being, her future and that of her child.

• “God has heard the boy crying as he lies there” God has seen the misery of the child, even though Hagar was not conscious of it.

• “For I will make him into a great nation.” (v.18) Earlier on, God had promised to make the son of the

maidservant (Ishmael) into a great nation (v. 13). So He encouraged and instructed Hagar to pick up the boy with a promise to fulfil the promise He earlier made to make him into a great nation. According to verse 19, God divinely provided water and He was with the boy as he grew up.

Believers sometimes face situations that make them feel hopeless. They begin to ask if they will ever find assurance of God’s intervention. The lesson of Hagar and her son, Ishmael teaches that God sees and hears our cry of anguish, even though we may not be aware. When the circumstance of Hagar and Ishmael suddenly changed, God was still with them. He heard the cry of the boy and hearkened to him, to affirm the meaning of his name: “God hears” God miraculously provided for their needs and His presence was with him as the boy grew. Whenever we find ourselves in such situation as individuals, family, church or a nation, we should trust God for divine intervention, just as He showed up for Hagar and her son in the wilderness.


1. Comment on Hagar’s actions in her most challenging time, according to the passage?

2. Why did God care so much for Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, and what does it teach us about God?


Based on today’s lesson, make a commitment not to forget anyone you can help.

Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:

• Agree on a special day to visit a motherless babies’ home with gifts. Pray with them and assure them that God has not forgotten them.


• Pray that the love of Christ will reign in your home at all times.

• Pray for the grace to always obey God’s instructions, whether it is convenient or not.

• Pray that God should divinely meet you at your point of need.

Take Home:

Write down three (3) lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson:

• __________

• __________

• __________

Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!

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