Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. How have you heard this sentence completed: “There are two kinds of people in the world . . .”?
2. What types of cliques are found in a typical high school? Which one were you a part of? Which would never have accepted you?
Read Genesis 17:19; 21:8-12.
1. A character in many stories about high school students is the so-called mean girl. How does the mean girl behave? What motivates her? What characteristics of a so-called mean girl does Sarah exhibit in this Bible account?
2. Describe Abraham’s attitudes and behavior in this account. How does he fall short of the type of man one would picture as the heroic leader of a new nation?
Read Genesis 21:14-16.
3. The Desert of Beersheba was exactly as it sounds—hot, dry, and unpopulated. How might Abraham have justified sending a woman and her teenage son into such adverse conditions?
4. Isaac was the son chosen to be the ancestor of God’s chosen people, and Ishmael was not. But are those not chosen to have a special covenant with God less valuable in his eyes? Respond by paraphrasing Isaiah 56:3-8.
Read Genesis 17:20; 21:13, 17-20.
5. In what appeared to be the last moments in the life of Hagar and Ishmael, an angel of God responded from Heaven. Summarize the three elements of that response.
6. Muslims to this day claim Ishmael as the ancestor of several prominent Arab tribes and as the forefather of Muhammad. How does that claim fit with the promises made about Ishmael to Abraham and Hagar?
7. Who in this story reminds you most of yourself: Hagar, who sees herself as a victim; Sarah, who does not want to associate with those not perceived as being up to her standards; or Abraham, who is distressed when a person or group is mistreated but feels powerless to respond? Explain.