12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
There was once a fellow that played for the Houston Oilers named Carl Mauck. He would growl about the (lack) of manliness the other team had. He would get angry when they lost, and would be cocky when they won. Carl once famously quipped that he wished he could buy a tank. He would take the tank out onto the Houston freeways and ‘rollover every car with a Dallas Cowboys bumper sticker’.
Carl Mauck was a wild man.
In January 1980, after the Oilers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship for the second year in a row, they brought the team to a packed Astrodome for an appreciation rally. Dan Pastorini thanked everyone for their support. Bum Phillips famously proclaimed ‘that next year, we’re going to kick the (door) down!”
Carl stood up, and in front of 50,000 screaming football fans, declared “That Holly-tola has got 53 Americans hostages over there. We’re going to sing God Bless America”
And then the wild man, led 50,000 football fans into a drawling, off-key, roaring tribute to the Iranian hostages.
We loved our wild man, Carl Mauck.
A wild man is not a bad man. He is passionate, impulsive, enthusiastic, unruly, emotional, unrefined, and eager. At times, reckless.
Hagar was warned. Ishmael would be a wild child. The angel told her to return and submit to Sarai. Humble yourself. Rather than have an attitude of “I’m better than you because I was able to give your man a child”- be considerate of Sarai and have empathy that she is elderly and no longer able to have children.
A wild child must be nurtured and made passionate about doing the right things. They should be eager and enthusiastic about serving God. One that impulsively becomes emotional about good things- like Carl Mauck. The way they are raised and nurtured is crucially important in a wild man- so that passion and emotion is modeled properly and encouraged by example by the nurturer.
Abram loved Ishmael, and so did the Lord. When he came to tell Abram he and Sarai would have a son, Isaac, Abram spoke up for Ishmael.
Genesis 17: 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
Hagar was warned about her son. She was doing enough to get along- knowing that the old lady was never going to have a child- and knowing that she would outlive them both and all of it would be hers. Ishmael’s and hers. And she obviously instilled this sentiment into her wild child Ishmael. “It will all be ours”. Abraham was very rich.
Can you imagine the shock and disbelief when ninety-year old post-menopausal Sarah turned up pregnant? And when she had a son? He, Isaac, was now the heir. The heir gets it all. Talk about a plot-twist. Well, the heir does get it all, but of course, generous gifts and pledges can be made to other children.
Genesis 21: 8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
If only Hagar had listened to the angel. If she had submitted herself to Sarah and modeled respect and harmony for her wild child, it may not have come to this. Instead of being jealous and disrespectful, Ishmael could have been excited about a new half-brother and celebrated. But, instead, it wasn’t going to work out.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
It always bothered me that rich Abraham sent them away with next to nothing- not even enough to survive long. But- Abraham had God’s promise that Ishmael would become a great nation- which means it was time to turn it over to his friend.
And God was ready to work another miracle:
15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
Hagar and Ishmael departed Abraham’s house with nothing. This was so that they would know that Ishmael survived in the wilderness not because of inheritance from Abraham, but by the power of God. He became a great nation- a father of twelve princes- not because of the wealth and riches of Abraham, but of God. God was with the lad.
Ishmael’s descendants became the Arabs. Isaac’s became Israel. For many up to this present day- this was the start of the conflict. Ishmael was the rightful heir, they argue.
I suggest people still making this argument follow the example of the fathers they claim:
Genesis 25: 8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;
In a poignant moment, the wild man and the miracle heir buried their father together. If there had been any animus, it was gone. God had blessed both sons of Abraham and a long co-existence was beginning for two great nations.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.