Isaac and Ishmael

Religious pride will never submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It will mouth the words, it will weep and cry over how much it loves Jesus, but when it’s confronted, it will react. It’s important to see that there is a false realm of Ishmael, and a true realm of Isaac. It is the nature of these realms that must be seen. It’s not about individuals having religious pride, although it certainly has its manifestation through individuals. The false realm of Ishmael is not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is only Christ’s Lordship that creates humility. It is our submission to the Lord’s dealings that create His Lordship over us. The Ishmael realm will not recognize its own need. It refuses to see. Ishmael is all about claiming promises and boasting in the great things God is doing. Ishmael presumes much. The Ishmael realm quotes Scriptures as being done deals and does not acknowledge the need for every promise to be worked experientially into our lives. In other words, it avoids the cross that produces the reality of the promises in us.

Ishmael’s nature is rooted in the antichrist spirit. This is a hard thing to discern because there is something of God in the Ishmael realm. It is not as simple as good or evil. In the simplest terms, Ishmael is devoid of the cross experience that crucifies the Adamic nature in us. Ishmael will never inherit the promises of God. Ishmael will preach them, prophesy them, and rejoice in them, but they will never become a living experience for him. Why is this so? Because every promise and provision that God gives is fulfilled in the new nature of Christ. The true Isaac submits to the work of the cross. The true Isaac cries unto God as David did. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Ishmael attempts to inherit the kingdom of God without a change of nature. Ishmael claims a nature change, just as he claims every provision from God. Ishmael points to the hardships and trials he has been through and calls it the cross. But the true cross touches our natures. Ishmael walks without an unfolding revelation of the Lord Jesus in his life. Ishmael walks defiantly, boldly proclaiming his heritage as a son of God. The true Isaac limps into the kingdom. He limps in just as Jacob limped after his wrestling match with the Lord. Jacob limped the rest of his life. It was indicative of the Lord subduing his nature.

Ishmael mocks the true Isaac. He mocks because he has no regard for what he considers weakness.

Gen. 21
2  So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.
3  Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
4  Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5  Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6  Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”
7  And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
8  The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
9 ¶  Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
10  Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.”

Ishmael mocked Isaac. This is what prompted Sara to tell Abraham to drive out both Ishmael and his mother. Although Abraham was distressed, God confirmed to him that what Sara commanded was right. There is to be no sympathy for Ishmael. Why? Because its roots are in the Adamic nature, not the new nature of Christ. God told Abraham he would make a great nation of Ishmael. He blessed Ishmael to a degree. But ultimately, Ishmael is cast out of the line of inheritance. This is the wisdom of God in distinguishing the true from the false.

The mocking of Ishmael comes because it sees the limping of Isaac, hamstrung by the dealings of God, as weakness. It calls the submission of Isaac to Christ’s Lordship religious. It accuses Isaac of being religious because he doesn’t stand on the promises and boldly proclaim them. When the work of the cross and the need for experientially embracing the promises is mentioned, Ishmael smirks and mocks such “religious rhetoric.” Ishmael always appears spiritually strong. Isaac always appears weak by comparison. Paul addresses this in 1st. Cor. 11.

Isaac appears weak because he is slow to speak of that which is yet only a provision. The king of Israel addressed the boasting of Ben-hadad and told him: “Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off.’” Isaac learns to walk one step at a time by the grace of God. Grace is more than a doctrine or buzz word. Grace becomes Isaac’s survival because he experiences the reality of what Paul stated in Rom. 7: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” Isaac learns to appropriate the grace of God, and thus begins walking in the new nature of Christ. Every step Isaac takes hits a roadblock. It is a roadblock against the Adamic nature having its expression. God has no mercy for the Adam in Isaac, and this lack of mercy becomes Isaac’s glory. Only Isaac walks under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christ’s Lordship is an experience worked into Isaac which leads Isaac’s words to be few. Only Isaac speaks a living word. Ishmael’s words are many and his teachings fill books. Isaac has learned to let his words be few, and when he speaks his words are freighted with God, not pseudo-spiritual platitudes. Ironically, Ishmael bristles at Isaac, calling him arrogant and boastful. It is the same spirit that filled those who put their hands over their ears, gnashed their teeth, and stoned Stephen to death. They did so because they could not cope with the level of the word he was speaking (Acts 7). Stephen provoked the Adamic nature deep within those who stoned him. Their rushing upon Stephen to stone him was an act of involuntary compulsion. When the religious pride of Ishmael is touched, it will always lash out in indignation. It will rise up and condemn. When religious pride is confronted, that is when it shows its true colors. It’s masquerade of Christ is exposed.

The premier message of the Gospel of the Kingdom is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He must be Lord over us. Words are cheap, and saying it doesn’t make it so. The true sons of the kingdom learn to bow to His Lordship with every step they take. They, like Paul, die daily. The true sons of the kingdom become like Stephen, speaking words that cannot be refuted. The true Isaac has had the humility of Christ Himself worked into their spirits. Are they perfect? No, they are not, but Christ’s perfection is BEING worked experientially into them. It is an ongoing, ever present work. None of the sons of the kingdom play the blab it and grab it game. The revealing of Christ in His sons is first an inward manifestation, and His sons walk in His glory long before the world, or even Christianity, recognizes it. It is in the secret place that God perfects His sons.

Heb. 13
9  Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
10  We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11  For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.
12  Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
13  So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
14  For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

 Let us go outside the camp, bearing His reproach. It is outside the camp that we find our delight. It is in the reproach of the cross that we find our greatest joy. The true Isaac will know intimately what the Lordship of Jesus Christ means. Under His Lordship we find the access to every promise and provision that God has given. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Ironically, it is those who feel the least worthy that will inherit. All of God’s grace and favor are beamed towards those who humble themselves before Him. It is our submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ that seals us as sons.

Isa. 66

1 ¶  Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?
2  “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.




One thought on “Isaac and Ishmael

  1. The inward work of the cross helps us to see where Ishmael is mocking Isaac, and when this is brought to our attention we follow the advice of Sarah.

    “God has winked at certain situations; but He will not do so now. The pressures are greater now than at previous times. Today you will be destroyed by the immaturity that God allowed yesterday. Open your heart to the growing demands of God for maturity and for righteousness in your walk with God. Do not become legalistic and harsh in your judgments; nevertheless, follow the course of discipline that God sets before you. God desires to make you into a pure vessel. Purge yourself from all defilement so that you may be a vessel of honor, sanctified, meet for the Master’s use, prepared for every good work (II Timothy 2:21). God can pour any blessing through you if you are a sanctified vessel, prepared by God for His purpose.”
    ~ John Robert Stevens

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