We are thinking about the life of Abraham and the promises God gave him. The Lord said He would give to Abraham's descendants an everlasting covenant of land. This land would be a possession for the generations to come:
7I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).
The promises of God still stand today regarding the land of Canaan or Israel. The Jewish people may have been dispersed for two thousand years, but His covenant still stands and God is bringing Jewish people back to the land He has given them. The Lord also promised that He would make of the seed of Hagar’s son, Ishmael, into great nations. Esau, Jacob's brother, married Ishmael’s daughter and now make up the Arabic nations of the Middle East (Genesis 28:9). The Lord is clear, though, that it is through Isaac that the promises of the land are to be reckoned. Later on, when there is tension in the family because of Ishmael mocking Isaac, Sarah wants for Hagar and Ishmael to leave:
…Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking,
10and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” 11The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring” (Genesis 21:9-13).
The Arabic people have become a great nation with over 400 million people speaking the Arabic language. The land of Canaan, though, was promised to the seed of Isaac, and it is to fight against God to try to take the land from them. Later on, to clear up the matter, Abraham's grandson Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) was promised the land by God:
9After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel. 11And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you” (Genesis 35:9-12. Emphasis mine).
It was from this line of progeny that Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings, was to be born. Does this mean that God has forsaken those nations wherein the Arabic people live? Of course not! They are also called to become part of the Body of Christ, composed of Jew and Gentile, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Spanish, etc. There is one covenant open to all—a covenant that will completely forgive the sin of all men if they will humble themselves and come to Messiah. No matter where you are or what you have done, God has opened His door to you. Keith Thomas.