And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. Genesis 21:8-9 ESV
Sarah laughed for joy when Isaac was born. But Ishmael laughed in scorn when Isaac was weaned. A great party was thrown in Isaac’s honor and the scoffing of the elder son dampened the celebration.
If only Sarah could have done things differently years before. When God’s promise of conception didn’t occur for next 25 years, she concocted her own solution. She told Abraham to sleep with Hagar to produce a son. Oh, how that haunted her on this day as Ishmael, a son whom she also loved but conceived outside of God’s will, mocked her Isaac. Paul described the dynamics well. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. Gal. 4:29 ESV
I can be sure that whatever I make happen in the flesh will collide with what God is doing through my spirit. Dead works and Spirit-breathed endeavors strain against each other. One is of God. One is not. Children even perceive the difference. Cruel things are said on the playgrounds as Christian children are despised and taunted.
Where is there holy conflict today? Perhaps your church is a mixed bag. There are righteous pockets of activity, places where God’s Spirit is breathing abundant life into those who are spiritually hungry. This, unfortunately, co-exists alongside fleshly ministries that are birthed through ambition instead of prayer. Enthusiasm is mistaken for holy fervor. Know this ~ that whatever is of the flesh and whatever is of the Spirit ~ create sparks when in proximity. There will be a kingdom clash that no amount of mediation will be able to fix. What is the remedy? Things of the flesh need to be exposed and repented of at the altar. Oh, that our homes and churches would cease being divided kingdoms.
May Your kingdom come to the messes of our own making. Amen