Cast Out the Bondwoman and Her Son


In my last article I wrote where Paul in his letter to the Galatians gave them an illustration of the bondwoman and the freewoman. The son of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh while the son of the freewoman according to promise.  God had promised Abram that he would have a son in his old age, yet Sarai, his wife, doubted that she could have a son so she encouraged Abram to take Hagar, her maid, and have a son by her.  When Hagar conceived she despised Sarai who had no children.  Ishmael, who was born to Hagar, was Abrams way of bringing to pass God’s promise of a son in his old age; however God’s plan was for Sarai herself to conceive and bring forth a child in her old age which she eventually did and called his name Isaac.  ‘Paul quotes scripture saying, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” (Galatians 4:30).  This is referring to when Isaac, Sarai’s son, was weaned. He was now eating solid food, Abraham made a great feast for him but Ishmael mocked Isaac and Sarah saw it and told Abraham to cast out the bondwoman and her son for she said, the bondwoman’s son would not be heir with her son.’

In Joshua chapter 5:13-14 we are told that Joshua had an encounter with a Man standing opposite him with a sword drawn in His hand.  Joshua asked Him if He was “For us or for our adversaries?”  The answer was “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”   What a strange answer.   He seems to be saying that He is for God’s purposes not man’s purposes and even when He is supporting man it is to bring about God’s purposes.

We are part of God’s plan in bringing about His purpose.  However, like Abram, we often decide to fulfill God’s plan our way.  We either look at it as God supporting us in the work we do for Him or when we see what God’s will is we get on with the job and do it for Him.

This is where the flesh has to be cast out.

The flesh and Spirit cannot work together to do God’s will.  The son of the bondwoman cannot reign alongside the son of the freewoman. 

The bondwoman and the free woman are symbolic of two covenants, one from Mount Sinai which gives place to bondage, which is Hagar of course.  The other, the new covenant, not only removes all our sins but opens up to us heaven itself, the veil is rent in two and we have access to the Holy of Holies.

Hagar corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children but Jerusalem above is free.  It’s not about changing the old to make it look like the new, to change what we do and what we don’t do so we can all get on together, It is all about being a new creation, being born of God, old things have passed away, all things have become new.   It is about Christ having His rightful place in our lives.

The difference is the difference between earthly Jerusalem and heavenly Jerusalem, between carnal and spiritual, between Adam and Christ, between the “old man” and the “new man”, between the old creation and the new creation.  They are not the same with a few adjustments.  You must be born again of the Spirit of God.  You cannot experience the new until you have died to the old.

The son born according to the flesh, Ishmael, persecuted the one born according to the Spirit and this will always happen. 

It seems also that Ishmael is taking over our churches, the church meetings are often controlled by the flesh.  Jesus said that He (Himself) would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, so man gets on with the job to build it his way.  In many churches instead of Christ ministering in the midst of us the meetings are based on man’s carnal methods to attract non-Christians in order to get them interested in joining us.   Also new songs are written by people who look to their own ability to write a good song instead of being inspired by the Spirit.  We have worship groups based on worldly pop groups with the music turned up too high.  We have motivational messages that non-Christians can enjoy without feeling convicted and that will make Christians feel good about themselves.   Is this our work or God’s work? 

The Lord is the supreme Commander, what is important is what He is doing and not what we think He should do.  We cannot use human means to promote God’s work.  It is time to cast out the bondwoman and her son.

Next: The Wilderness Experience


Mark Greenwood   March 2019