Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator

Psalm 128

Pray the Psalm together aloud, alternating verses between two sides.  When finished, share reflections on the Psalm as a group

1  Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!

2  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

3  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

4  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

5  The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

6  May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel! 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

Birth of Isaac and Exile of Ishmael

Genesis 21

1.       What does it mean that “the LORD visited Sarah”? Why might it be important to ascribe Isaac’s conception to the LORD?

2.       How does Abraham raise Isaac differently than he raised Ishmael, even before Ishmael is exiled? For what reasons might a Patriarch treat different sons in different ways?

3.       Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham in order to conceive a child. What is the irony of Abraham’s sorrow now? Would you say that God’s precept “do as she tells you” (Gen 21:12) is a particular or universal counsel for Abraham? For a Patriarch?

4.       Why might there be a contrast between the way God spoke with Sarah (Gen 18) and the way God spoke with Hagar (Gen 16, 21)?

5.       What is the one oath that Abimelech asks of Abraham? What prior evidence is there that this is necessary? Should a Patriarch’s initial disposition be one of “trust” or “distrust” with outsiders?

Prayer Partners

Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.