“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly.”
Do you recall those early, bitter days of Ishmael’s childhood where Abram passed him off to his wife Sarai and literally told her to do whatever she pleased? Talk about a house divided against itself. Yet, something’s changed in this man and it’s clearly more than his name. We’re not sure when or how, but by the time we reach Genesis 17, Abraham reveals a tender heart toward his son. Notice how God consoles him with the words, “I have heard you”, implying that Abraham must have prayed for Ishmael’s wellbeing constantly. How wonderful is that? Somewhere along the way, Abraham stopped looking at his son as a mistake or a thorn in his side or a cross to bear, and he started treating him like a gift from God. Ishmael will never become the promised heir, but he wasn’t born for that. And even without a special place in the genealogical record of Israelites, he still holds a special place in his father’s heart.
Friend, remember: no child of God is an outcast in heaven, and you don’t have to be a patriarch or a ‘son of promise’ to receive your Father’s blessing today.