The Joy of a Promise Kept- Genesis 21


The Joy of a Promise Fulfilled (Grace)

Genesis 21:1-21, Galatians 4:21-31


  • Have you ever been promised something and it didn’t come to pass?
  • If you can’t think of a circumstance where that has happened in your life I’ll just give you one word and then you’ll know it has- Politicians!
  • As parents, sometimes our kids take things as promises and you have to be careful because they don’t understand time the way we do.
    • Melana and Cinderella’s castle.  “Dear God, Please let daddy take me to Cinderella’s castle tomorrow.  In Jesus Name, Amen”.  Every day for a week… 🙂


  • We all hate when a promise is made and it isn’t fulfilled.
  • In Genesis 21 we see Abraham and Sarah experiencing the fulfilled promise of God.


Now to review, let’s look at the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4:

1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:2and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:3and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.4So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4)

Now, check out when the promise was fulfilled:

Genesis 21:1-7
1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.  4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

  • Now, to get a sense of the background of this text you have to understand a couple of things.
  • 1.  This was the fulfillment of God’s Promise.
  • 2.  This was the fulfillment of God’s Promise to Abraham 25 years ago.
    • Imagine believing that you’re about to have a son since 1990.
    • Now imagine living in a culture where you not only have to deal with the emotional pain of not being able to have kids, but the social stigma of being a women in an eastern, ancient culture who has to deal with the shame of not having  a child.
    • Now imagine having told people for 25 years that you’re going to have a child.
    • Also, think about the fact that when you first receive this promise your husband is 75.
    • Born in 1915. Promised in 1990.  Promise fulfilled in 2015.
  • Now, inbetween when the promise was made (1990) and when the promise was fulfilled (2015) Abraham and Sarah got a little impatient.
  • So they tried to help God out- (Hagar and Ishmael).

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.20And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. (Genesis 21:1-21)

  • Ok- interesting story, Ben- but what does this have to do with my life right now.
  • Check this out:

Now:  Look at Galatians 4:21-31

21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

  • Background of Galatians- Jesus + Law= Grace
  • Jesus + Circumcision etc.etc.
  • So Paul is about to give an illustration, but it’s more than an illustration.  God actually ordained circumstances so that he could later use it to teach us about the law and the promise.

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.27 For it is written,
Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not;
Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not:
For the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Galatians 4:1-31)


Law Promise (Grace)
Hagar (Bondwoman) Sarah (Free-woman)
Old Covenant New Covenant
Mount Sinai Jerusalem
Ishmael- After the Flesh Isaac- Miracle of God
Persecutor Persecuted

Now- Go back to Genesis 21 and let’s look at what the scripture says:
Genesis 21:6

6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

  • Just like Sarah experienced the joy of a son and God keeping his promise, we experience the joy of the Lord through the grace of God in His keeping His salvation promise to us.


  1. There are two ways people try to get to heaven:  By works or by Grace.  The only way you’re going to make it is by the grace of God.
  2. Those of us who know God’s grace through salvation through Jesus Christ should experience the joy of being in Christ.
  3. We should desire for other people to experience God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

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