"And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." - Genesis 21:8
Interesting. Why would Abraham have made a "great feast," a party, if you will, "the same day that Isaac was weaned"? I came across this verse in my reading yesterday and I contemplated on it most of the day. Here are some thoughts.
First of all, we're not real sure how old Isaac is in this verse. Speculation has it that children, in those days, were weaned from 2-5 years of age. So, Isaac is definately walking, talking, showing personality. Why would Abraham make such a big deal about his son no longer relying on Sarah for his food?
Genesis 18:19 - "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken of him."
This was said before Isaac's birth. Abraham already had the promise from God that he would be made a great nation. He had waited 100 years for his heir. For the first 2 - 5 years of Isaac's life, Abraham's impact and influence was limited.
"Sarah, I'm taking Isaac to show him the new baby calf."
"Ok, lord," (see I Peter 3:6) "but please bring him back when he gets hungry."
Then, the day came when Isaac was no longer tied to his mother. Now, Abraham could take him for a few days' journey to show him all the land he would one day inherit. Abraham could now really begin to fulfill the promise and responsibility God gave him to raise Isaac in the ways of God. He had already begun to tell his young son stories of his Friend - the visits he made, the promise He gave him, even the story of how He destroyed the city Uncle Lot lived in. But now, Abraham would have his son the majority of the time. He no longer had to leave him behind in the tent with Sarah. While his mother provided for Isaac's physical needs those first few years, he would now rely on his father for his spiritual needs. Abraham would be the one to teach him how to be a man.
Abraham had a son. His son really became his the day he was weaned. This is the cause for the celebration!
However, what were Sarah's thoughts? I'm sure she feasted as well. She wanted her son to be a great man who loved the Lord. She, too, was excited about the promise God had made to Abraham and knew that it would be fulfilled through Isaac. However, she had waited 90 years to become a mother. Isaac was the only child she would ever be able to nurse. Every time she fed him, she was aware of this great miracle and thankful for the experience of motherhood. The day she weaned him, she knew she would never have another baby to hold and nurse. Her baby was no longer. Isaac was on the road to manhood. Her heart, though excited about the future, was probably also sad about what she would never have again.
As a mother, I have to be sure I don't keep my little boys, well, little boys. They need to become MEN. The other day, the children needed to do some cleaning up in the house. I called Eric to find out if Michael was with him. He was. What was our 9 year old boy doing? Helping daddy and the guys fix the grain bin. What does a mother do? Make him come in and help his sisters clean up the house or let him continue having fun helping his father?
He continued to do the MAN'S work. Did he help create the mess in the house? Yes. However, he needs to learn how to work like a man by working with a man. He needs to see how a Christian man reacts when a job doesn't go as planned. He needs to feel sweaty. He has many opportunities to clean up after himself. That's a good trait to learn. But, it's needful for him to learn to be a man. Michael was in such good spirits the rest of the day because he got to work with the guys. I don't believe he would have been happy to have been called in to do the domestic work. Because he's spoiled and wants his way? No. Because God created him with a need to do hard, physical labor. God created him so that his fulfillment comes from doing a man's work - not from hanging out with and helping mommy.
When Sarah weaned Isaac, Abraham took over. Isaac was now his responsibility. She didn't try to tell Abraham how to do things or that he was pushing Isaac too hard. She may have been a bit fearful seeing little Isaac among the big animals. She may have wondered if he was getting too tired. But, she let him grow under his daddy's leading. She knew the only way he'd become a man worth anything was if daddy showed him the way.
Abraham held a feast and rejoiced when Isaac was weaned. Sarah rejoiced along with him and let Isaac go. It was daddy's turn.