From Elsewhere: A biblical perspective on Islamic totalitarianism
I’ve started to read pieces by the American Conservative politician Lt Col Allen West and this one on Islamic totalitarianism and the Biblical story of Isaac and Ishmael caught my eye and gives a lot of food for thought.
Lt Col West, writing in his own blog said:
“Sunday at our church, Community Christian, we began to study a book called The Story, a historical view of the Bible, making it relevant to our lives today.
In chapter two, “God Builds a Nation,” the focus was on Abraham and his willingness to pick up his family and all possessions to follow God’s direction. Pastor Scott Eynon gave us this definition of faith, “obeying God even when you don’t know where you are going, even when you are not sure where He is leading. It is walking with God during doubts, delays, and difficulties. It is trusting God when the story He presents makes no sense.”
Think about it. God told two senior citizens, Abraham and Sarah, they would have a child and their heritage would populate the earth. Even in their full faith they still doubted God. After all, at Sarah’s age, how could God’s promise for conception come to fruition? So Sarah offered up to Abraham her Egyptian maid, Hagar. Sarah did as we often do in our lives today – think we know what God intends but try to control the means to the end. Abraham complied, slept with Hagar and she conceived a son.
And here is the residual effect from the impatient decision of Sarah and Abraham from Genesis 16:10-12:
The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to Hagar: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born, and it was from Ishmael that all Arab people descended. Some 14 years later, Sarah conceived and bore a son, Isaac, from whom the Jewish people descended.”
It’s an interesting reading of the story of the conception of the half brothers Isaac and Ishmael and I like the way that he concentrates on the idea that Ishmael was conceived because Abraham and Sarah, partly because of their advancing age, had a crisis of faith and tried to ‘short circuit’ God’s promise that they would have a child. Because of their impatience to have a child, the line of the Ishmaelites, whom the Muslim Arabs say they are descended from, came about.
It’s well worth reading the whole Allen West piece as it shows where Islamic tradition differs from Biblical tradition. For example: The Bible tells that Abraham took Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him because he believed that was what God wanted, whereas the Muslims say that it was Ishmael not Isaac that was brought to sacrifice but reprieved.
Original Allen West article
The story of the ‘binding of Isaac’