27 As Isaiah said,
“Rejoice, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
you who have never been in labor!
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband!”[a]
28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.
30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.
All throughout the Bible I am struck by the message that we have a choice as to which path we travel. Jeremiah said, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). In our passage for today, Paul may have had the Jeremiah passage in mind.
He says there are basically two paths. One is the way of Ishmael–the way of the old Law with its demands. The other path is the way of Isaac–the way of the promise. Those who take the path of Isaac are always going to be pressured and even persecuted by those who take the path of Ishmael. The need for us to make a choice began after the fall in Genesis 3. There it was either the path of Cain or the path of Abel; the path of Noah or the path of everyone else; the path of Esau or the path of Jacob;
There is a lot at stake here for those who take the path of the promise. But what I see is that the children who take the path of the promise understand that it all boils down to how they live. Do I live my life as a child of the promise? What is expected of me is simply that I believe, and that I live out th