Genesis 16:11

“And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.” (KJV)


Ishmael, Abraham’s oldest son, is almost a forgotten name in the Bible.

He’s the oldest son, but he’s not his daddy’s heir. He didn’t ask to be born. His birth was decided by Abraham and Sarah, who eventually decided to evict he and his mom, because he mocked his younger brother, Isaac.

I wonder how many sermons have been preached about Ishmael as if he were just an afterthought, or an illustration on the illegitimacy of his birth. There is, however, more to Ishmael than meets the casual observer.

For example, his name means “God hears.”

So, for all of us who at times feel like the least in our family, or overlooked by most, Ishmael reminds us that regardless of how others portray or feel about us, God hears us.

Be encouraged…for like Hagar, who had given up on life, God hears our affliction and will come to our rescue.




Pastor Wayne Penn, Sr.