The story of Ishmael is a tragic one in so many ways. It is a story unbelief, adultery, family division, rejection, and being an outcast. It is a story of selfishness, envy and even “biological warfare” (in that the conception of a child was used by both parties to seek to injure the other). It is a story of cruelty and unkindness. It is a story of impatience and utilitarianism. It is the story of brokenness in a very broken world. It is essentially a story of people made in the image of God who were treated as non-entities; they were unwanted by the very people who should have wanted them the most: their family.
Sadly, this story continues to be retold and repeated from generation to generation. The sermon on which this study is based was preached on Sanctity of Life Sunday 2013 (27 January 2013 in South Africa), a time in which Christians pause to reflect on the-oft repeated stories like the one before us. It should be noted, with reference to the sanctity of human life, that the global abortion holocaust has many parallels to this story recorded in Genesis 16 and 21.