Sibling Rivalry

Genesis 21:8-21 MSG
8  The baby grew and was weaned. Abraham threw a big party on the day Isaac was weaned.
9  One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac.
10  She told Abraham, “Get rid of this slave woman and her son. No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son Isaac!”
11  The matter gave great pain to Abraham—after all, Ishmael was his son.
12  But God spoke to Abraham, “Don’t feel badly about the boy and your maid. Do whatever Sarah tells you. Your descendants will come through Isaac.
13  Regarding your maid’s son, be assured that I’ll also develop a great nation from him—he’s your son too.”
14  Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba.
15  When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub
16  and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, “I can’t watch my son die.” As she sat, she broke into sobs.
17  Meanwhile, God heard the boy crying. The angel of God called from Heaven to Hagar, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy and knows the fix he’s in.
18  Up now; go get the boy. Hold him tight. I’m going to make of him a great nation.”
19  Just then God opened her eyes. She looked. She saw a well of water. She went to it and filled her canteen and gave the boy a long, cool drink.
20  God was on the boy’s side as he grew up. He lived out in the desert and became a skilled archer.
21  He lived in the Paran wilderness. And his mother got him a wife from Egypt.

Everyone who has a brother(s) or sister(s) knows the chemistry of sibling rivalry.  It may be through sports, education, or just the attention of one or both parents.

I am the oldest of five children, one brother and three sisters.  I understand and can relate to sibling rivalries within a family.  My brother and youngest sister are seven and eight years younger than myself.  It is the two sisters in the middle that it seemed like they were constantly sparring over one thing or another.  Most of it stemmed from them always having to share a bedroom.  The other times were when the middle sister felt like she was not receiving all the attention from our mother.  From what I understand the rivalry in a small way still exists even to this day.

Now let’s take our focus to Israel, the Mount of Olives and the Dome of the Rock.  Also, the constant friction between Israel and Gaza.  Every time tensions rise between the two I have been known to quip, “those two brothers have been fighting since the days of Abraham”.

When it comes to the Mount of Olives and the Dome of the Rock both brothers claim they have complete rights to that space.  Both declare that it is a sacred holy place.  The Jewish people because of Moses and how God gave him the commandments.  The Arab Nations because it is where it is said the Prophet Mohammed ascended into the heavens.

The two brothers I am speaking of is, Isaac and Ishmael.  Isaac the ancestor of the nation we now call Israel, and Ishmael the ancestor of the Arab Nations.  

The conflict started when Sarah had Abraham send the bond woman, Hagar, and Ishmael into the desert.

I can imagine as a young boy Ishmael wondered what he and his mother had done to be sent away into a far land.  Could it have been that Abraham was ashamed of them both.  Did Ishmael do something that displeased his father, Abraham?  It wouldn’t take much to believe that this started a seed of resentment to grow within the young Ishmael.  Maybe, somewhere deep in his spirit even revenge.

Now almost seven thousand years later we seed that same rivalry alive within the two nations that came from those two brothers.

Consider this, Ishmael is the result of man trying to bring forth God’s promise, Isaac the promise of God by faith.

The space occupied by the Dome of the Rock is also the space where the first Temple was built.  When the Dome was built the Jewish people considered it an abomination of desolation spoken of by the Prophet Daniel and referanced by Christ himself.

I believe the prophecy by Malachi about the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple was set into motion when Israel became a nation in May 1948.  I do not know what will take place for the actual new Temple to be built again.  Somewhere as I see it an event that is yet to take place allows the Jewish people to reclaim the Mount of Olives and the land where the original temple stood.

I am not sure of all of the future events in Bible prophecy, but, I do know that we are living in the last days.

I always try to look at the world headlines in the news through the eye piece of Biblical prophecy, thus the reason for the writing of this article.

There are many other examples in the written Word of sibling rivalry, one that comes to mind is the parable of the prodigal son and the brother who became jealous because of the father’s actions on the return of the wayward son.

I have written in past articles that I truly believe that Babylon which is located in Iraq, formerly part of Persia, will be rebuilt.  So, with that in mind there must be a purpose of God creating two great nations from the seed of two brothers, Isaac and Ishmael.

The next time you hear in the news about rising tensions between Israel and the Arab nations you can see and understand what started all this.

Again, it behooves each and everyone of us to study and understand the Bible. 

2 Timothy 2:  KJV
15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.



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