A heartbreaking and confusing passage presents itself in Genesis 21. On the one hand, there is great joy in the miracle of Isaac’s birth to Sarah. On the other hand, Hagar and Ishmael’s banishment at Sarah’s insistence is the stuff of Lifetime movies. What’s more, while Abraham struggles with the difficult decision, God steps in and gives him the go-ahead.

Pausing to speculate for a moment, we first see the potential for animosity between the two sons in verse 9. Next we can note the counter-cultural issue with bequeathing the birthright and inheritance to the second-born. But mainly we should remember that God’s promises never fail, and He did indeed make promises to Hagar regarding her boy when He met her in the desert earlier in chapter 16. Yet here she follows suit behind her husband and abandons hope when all seems lost. They run out of water far from help, and the Egyptian woman can’t bear to watch Ishmael suffer.

What will happen next? Tune in next weekend to Lifetime Moth & Ethan to find out.