“God heard the boy’s voice, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong with you, Hagar?” -Genesis 21:17
So per God’s command, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away.
They were abandoned and on the verge of dying from thirst when a voice from the heavens called out to them.
This situation smacks of the mysterious encounter Abraham had with the three men who had visited him a couple of chapters ago.
So who is the “angel of God” that spoke out to Hagar?
As usual, let’s take a look at the original Hebrew.
The original Hebrew is “Mal’ach Elohim”.
Literally, “Mal’ach Elohim” means “The Messenger of God“.
Was this an angel sent by God to do His bidding?
Or was this a manifestation of God Himself?
Honestly, based on just the Hebrew itself, it is difficult to tell.
I believe this was a manifestation of God the Father because the “angel of the Lord” speaks of His own authority saying “I will make Ishmael a great nation”.
And on the other hand, angels usually make it very clear that they have been sent by God and are NOT speaking on their own authority.
However, this is just my opinion and I am not going to be dogmatic on this point.
Moving on, a water well miraculously appears and God makes a promise to Ishmael that he will be the father of a great nation.
Again, I stress that God asserts that Ishmael will give birth to a GREAT NATION.
Such a positive pronouncement is a far cry from the ignorant demonizing of the Arab nations that goes on in some circles.
Remember we are to pray that the sons of Ishmael come to faith in Yeshua as fervently as we would pray for any other people group.
One final point.
While God promised Ishmael that he would father a nation, there was NO PROMISE OF LAND!
Understand that in the Bible, nations are NOT about land, they refer to people groups.
Hagar and Ishmael would end up becoming desert dwellers (bedouins) in an area known as the Paran Desert.
Later it would be called Midian.
And of course, today we know this area as the Arabian Peninsula, the area from which all the Arab nations sprang.