AND SARAH SAW
Genesis 21:9-12—“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 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. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 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.”
An email I received and read on Frances & Friends compared this complex situation between Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac, and Hagar and Ishmael to the Syrian refugees now living among us in the United States of America.
In the book of Genesis, Sarah sees Ishmael mocking. This was an ongoing problem that was never going to stop. Ishmael—a work of the flesh—could not continue to co-exist with Israel—a work of the Spirit. Had Sarah not voiced her concern to Abraham, it is quite possible that Ishmael’s mocking would have resulted in the murder of their promise child, Isaac.
Consider these notes regarding Ishmael and Isaac from my husband’s Bible commentary:
“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now” (Gal. 4:29).
Paul is referring to an incident in Genesis Chapter 21. Isaac is being weaned. It is possible that he was upward of 5 years old, and if so, Ishmael would have been about 19. [In Gen. 21:9] the implication is that Ishmael was mocking Isaac and possibly Sarah as well. As Paul describes in Galatians 4:29, the word persecuted is understood by some Greek scholars as to imply murder. And Scripture confirms it. In other words, Ishmael hated Isaac, and actually wanted to murder him. This was why Sarah asked that Hagar and her son be sent away.
Praise the Lord, Sarah did speak up. Since the life of her only son was at stake, she did not mince words. Neither was Sarah concerned about being politically correct when she told Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son.”
Of course the situation was a very painful one for Abraham because Ishmael was his son. Surely it was an extremely difficult decision for him to make and to follow through by sending Ishmael and his mother out from under his care and protection. But he listened to Sarah—as the Lord told him to do—and Abraham obeyed God.
I do see a correlation between this truth from Genesis and the Muslim refugees who live among us in the United States of America.
My question is this: Can Muslims and Christians continue to co-exist in this country? Ishmael and Isaac reached a point where they could not.
Every day the media reports evidence of growing tensions between Islam and Christianity. As the Muslim community grows in America, so does its desire to dominate in our schools, cities, and government.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
President Obama decided that America will become the new and permanent home for 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY 2016—a number that is expected to increase. Nearly 1,500 are already here. The U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The president’s decision did not require congressional approval and was apparently made without discussion of alternatives to migration, such as assisting the refugees in camps nearest to their homelands. There seems to be an agenda in place to uproot these people and force them into the European Union, with increasing pressure on the U.S. to take in its fair share.
America was even admonished on the issue by Pope Francis who spoke to Congress from his temporary U.S. pulpit: “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.”
That’s an odd statement to make to a country that has given so much in humanitarian aid to countries in crisis. Syria has been no exception.
From FY12 to FY15, the U.S. government has given more than $4.5 billion in assistance to the Syrian humanitarian response, according to the agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid—the United States Agency for International Development.
In addition to these billions of U.S. dollars already spent, the United Nations is still pressing America to open her borders wider and take in more refugees, whose total population rivals the migrations of World War II.
In September, Time Magazine reported this:
“Since the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011, 1,584 refugees have been relocated in the U.S., the majority of whom have moved to Texas (180), California (171), Michigan (159), Illinois (132), Arizona (107) and Florida (97). Thirty other states have absorbed the rest, according to numbers compiled by the State Department.”
Although often used interchangeably, let me define the two terms refugee and immigrant. A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons. An immigrant is a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.
The refugees already here, plus the 10,000 Syrians coming now, plan to make the U.S. their permanent residence.
For Christians and other conservatives, the primary concern around this intake of Syrian refugees is that Islamic terrorists will infiltrate this ongoing migration and slip through undetected into the United States.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, shares this concern. In September he told CNN, “We have to assume that ISIS or al Qaeda would try to take advantage of this situation.”
According to its website, the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee “focuses on the capabilities and efforts of the Federal government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, to identify and deter threats to the Homeland through the collection and sharing of counterterrorism and homeland security information across Federal, State, and local law enforcement.”
Congressman King, the man who heads this subcommittee, describes ISIS this way:
ISIS is a vicious jihadist terrorist organization which continues to make advances in large parts of Iraq and Syria. ISIS in the Middle East today is stronger than Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan in 2001. It is far wealthier and battle-hardened than Osama Bin Laden’s henchmen. ISIS includes Americans in its ranks, and is actively trying to recruit more via social media. ISIS has demonstrated its depraved, evil and barbaric nature toward Americans by killing aid worker Kayla Mueller, beheading journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and former U.S. Army Ranger Peter Kassig.
In 2015 over 50 individuals have been arrested in the United States for their connections to ISIS. Many of these individuals were apprehended while planning attacks on New York, including Abdurasul Juraboev, Khror Saidakhmetov, Abror Habibov, Dilkhayot Kasimov and Akmal Zakirov who had planned to travel to Syria and join ISIS, bomb Coney Island, kill members of the NYPD and the President; Samuel Rahamin Topaz, Munther Omar Saleh, Fareed Mumuni, Alaa Saadeh, Nader Saadeh who, along with an unnamed minor, planned to attack various landmarks throughout New York City and provide material support to ISIS; and Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, who were planning to attack a large law-enforcement event, like a funeral for a member of the NYPD.
Yet King’s concern, and the concern of so many others, goes unheeded by President Obama who will not even speak the words, “Islamic extremism.”
Neil Macdonald of CBC News said it well:
Why Obama and some other Western leaders frame their rhetoric that way is obvious. They want to shield law-abiding Muslim citizens from popular anger as provocations grow more atrocious by the month. Plus, they are anxious to repudiate any idea of a war between the largely Christian West and the Islamic world.
But that is the way ISIS and its fellow travellers see things, and those atrocities— the immolation of the Jordanian pilot in the name of Allah, the internet videos of hooded figures hacking the heads off Western hostages in the name of Allah, the slaughter at a French magazine in the name of Allah—are having the desired effect.
It’s pretty safe to say that in the broad public mind, both here and in Europe, Islam is not synonymous with peace.
I could add to this list the recent crucifixion of a 12-year-old boy who refused to deny his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are just more of the realities—the results—of true Islam. Yet even after hearing and seeing these cruelties, many still hold to an unrealistic view of the Muslim religion, calling it a religion of peace and love when we see example after example of the complete opposite.
The angel of the Lord told Hagar how Ishmael would be:
“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. (These predictions describe the Arab people perfectly. They cannot get along with anyone in the world, and they cannot even get along among themselves. The descendants of Ishmael dwell in the presence of all his brethren [Israel], but do not subdue them and, in fact, never will subdue them!)” (Gen. 16:12, ESB)
NO LONGER THE MINORITY?
America was founded on Christian principles and values, which included religious freedom. As a Christian nation, America is a compassionate nation and has welcomed others seeking such freedom.
For the past 239 years, Christian America has grown up peaceably with other religions in its midst including Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mormonism. While these other religions disagree in doctrine, none pose any danger.
It’s not so with Islam. As the religion of Islam matures in the United States, we are experiencing the same problems that Sarah saw regarding Hagar and Ishmael—mocking and demanding, with a desire for murder.
School boards in America have been pressured by Muslim community leaders to eliminate references to all religious holidays—Christmas and Easter—on calendars and close public schools in observance of the Muslim holy day, Eid al-Adha.
When a New Jersey school board told Muslim parents that its schools would remain open on Eid al-Adha, Muslim families were outraged. The Daily Mail reported that a woman wearing a headscarf took a microphone during the meeting and told the school board panel, “We’re no longer the minority, that’s clear from tonight. We’re going to be the majority soon.”
Middle school students in Tennessee were required to recite and write the words, “Allah is the only god,” as part of their history project on the Five Pillars of Islam. One parent told Fox News, “It really did bother me that they skipped the whole chapter on the rise of Christianity and they spent three weeks just studying Islam.”
When presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said he would not support a Muslim for president if that person refused to put the U.S. Constitution above the tenets of Islam, his comments were called “anti-Muslim.”
Yet, when Fox News interviewed Muslim men on the streets of New York and asked them if sharia law should supersede the U.S. Constitution, one Muslim said this:
“The U.S. Constitution is made by people and the sharia law is made by Allah, so that [sharia] is all the way above, that has to be definitely in the land not for the America but for the whole world, would be above.”
As America takes in more and more Muslims, we should expect to experience the same problem that England and France are facing: a refusal by Muslims to assimilate in countries where they now live.
In the U.K., Muslims now make up 5 percent of the entire population, and Islam is its second largest religion. They have moved past the point of Muslim influence in their communities and schools.
Although still disconnecting the religion of Islam from Islamist terrorism, European leaders hosting large Muslim populations cannot deny and must now deal with an escalation in violence.
Six months ago, Britain’s prime minister David Cameron outlined a new strategy to prevent Islamist extremism in a speech to the Ninestiles School in Birmingham.
“It begins—it must begin—by understanding the threat we face and why we face it. What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine. And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim—mostly violence against fellow Muslims—who don’t subscribe to its sick worldview.”
In his speech, Cameron admitted a lack of confidence to enforce Britain’s values for fear of causing offense.
“The failure in the past to confront the horrors of forced marriage I view as a case in point. So is the utter brutality of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It sickens me to think that there were nearly 4,000 cases of FGM reported in our country last year alone. Four thousand cases; think about that. And 11,000 cases of so-called honour-based violence over the last 5 years¬—and that’s just the reported cases.”
Unfortunately, the president of the United States is unwilling to connect the realities of Islam to its terroristic agenda.
Just 45 days after two Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris headquarters of the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, President Obama spoke to an audience represented by more than 60 countries at the summit on “Countering Violent Extremism.”
After listing recent cruelties carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Middle East, Canada, Australia, France, and Denmark, President Obama made this statement:
“We have to confront the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL, especially their attempt to use Islam to justify their violence. I discussed this at length yesterday. These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy. And all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative.”
This is no falsehood, Mr. President. To the families who have watched or read the horrifying details of how their loved ones were murdered by Islamists, the truth about Islam is very real.
To allow people into the United States or Europe who are clearly against the established form of government and the freedoms these countries uphold is detrimental and dangerous to our country and to our way of life.
Sadly, the decision to let more refugees into America has already been made. Once again, Ishmael is in the same camp with Isaac.
As Christians, we must open our eyes and see, just as Sarah saw, and look at Islam for exactly what it is. Then, as Sarah did to Abraham, we need to speak up, ask questions, and voice our concerns about the threats Islam poses to our country.
Do the Muslims living in the United States show a love for the American people? I don’t see that happening. Are these refugees, whom we are spending so much money to help, feed, protect, and bring into this country, appreciative or thankful for what America is doing for them? These are serious questions to consider.
Above all, we must continually pray for our country. Donnie said it right the other day: “We are in a spiritual fight for the soul of our nation.”
Frances & Friends, Sept. 28, 2015
Jimmy Swaggart Bible Commentary, Galatians, pg. 342.
Obama Increases Number of Syrian Refugees for U.S. Resettlement to 10,000, The New York Times, by Gardiner Harris, David E. Sanger, and David M. Herszenhorn, Sept. 10, 2015
John Kerry: U.S. to Accept 85,000 Refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017, Associated Press, Sept. 20, 2015.
Transcript: Read the Speech Pope Francis Gave to Congress, Time Magazine, Sept. 24, 2015.
USAID Fact Sheet #8, FY2015, Sept. 21, 2015.
These 6 States Take in the Most Syrian Refugees, Time Magazine, Josh Sanburn, Sept. 10, 2015.
Counterterrorism Chair: We Have to Assume ISIS or Al Qaeda Would Try to Take Advantage of Refugee Situation, CNSnews.com, Susan Jones, Sept. 8, 2015.
Rep. Peter King, http://peteking.house.gov/issues/foreignaffairsdefense.
Why Barack Obama Won't Say ‘Islamic extremists’: President Trying To Channel The Terror Debate A Certain Way, But Not Everyone Onside, CBCnews, Neil Macdonald, Feb. 27, 2015.
‘We’re Going To Be The Majority Soon!’ Furious Muslim Parents Taunt New Jersey School Board Over Religious Holiday Closure, Daily Mail, Snejana Farberov,Sept. 23, 2015.
7th Graders In Tennessee Made To Recite, ‘Allah Is The Only God’ In Public Schools, Breitbart, Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D., Sept. 10, 2015.
Do Muslims Believe Sharia Law Supersedes The Constitution? Fox News, Sept. 23, 2015. http://video.foxnews.com/v/4504765499001/do-muslims-believe-sharia-law-supersedes-the-constitution/?#sp=show-clips
David Cameron Extremism Speech: The PM Outlined Plans For A New Extremism Bill To Prevent Radicalization, Independent, Lizzie Dearden, July 20, 2015.
Remarks by the President at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Feb. 19, 2015, State Department.