What are the things in my life I value and do not want to let go of, that prevent me going forward to a deeper walk with the Lord?  There is a big difference between condemnation, (which is not of God), and conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Conviction is the light of God wooing us to repentance and surrender to prevent stagnation, stuck in a rut along life’s highway.  God wants His best for each of us and knows the things that hold us back from divine purpose and fulfilment of all He has promised.  Let us remind ourselves of the promises God has given us.

Numbers 23:19  “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent: has He said and shall He not do it? or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?”

Abraham was called of God to leave his home country and begin his travels to a new location without fully knowing exactly where his final destination was.  As he obeyed, God’s direction came.  Hebrews 11:8-9 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country…..”

In every going there has to be a leaving.

We read the record of Abraham’s life in Genesis.  Just like us, he had many lessons to learn in the school of life.  Just like us, he made mistakes along the way, but we have the advantage of learning from his failures, just as we can learn from ours.  A day came when God required Abraham to “cast out” Ishmael and Hagar, (Genesis 21: 9-10). Verse 11 describes Abraham’s distress at God’s instruction: “And the thing was was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son”.  Place yourself in Abraham’s shoes for a moment and consider his ordeal.  The Lord goes on to assure Abraham that He will make provision for Ishmael, but the son of the bond woman cannot abide in the same household as the son of promise.

Here is the analogy: (Galations 4: 22-31) Isaac represents God’s divine purpose in our lives, Ishmael represents permission.  In order for us to enter into the fullness of our birthright in Christ Jesus, divine purpose, we have to cast out the Ishmaels in our lives, the baggage that prevents us going forward.  The Holy Spirit will convict incrementally.  As we surrender and obey His directions, burn the boats of our past ways, we receive another measure of the fullness of Christ.  That great mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory is ours for the taking as we walk in humility and obedience.

Birth settles destiny.  This is clearly defined in Isaac and Ishmael.

What God demands, He provides.  He does not need our interference and endeavours to help Him out.  We try to hurry things along, birthing our Ishmaels resulting in stumbling blocks that necessitate a casting out, in order to walk in God’s divine purpose for our lives.

Will we be part of the company of people God is preparing for His final plan on the earth?  The apostle, Paul, used the phrase “pressed out of measure and into fullness”.  We can be pressed out of Ishmael and into Isaac, God’s place of purpose for us, no more looking back:  Philippians 3: 13-14 “……..but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are ahead.  I press towards the mark for the  prize of  the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.

Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash