Daily Distinctives, April 12, 2018 – Farewell

And so coming to Genesis chapter 25 in my daily devotional we say goodbye to an old and faithful friend, but not before we learn a little more about the ancient with libido. Apparently, our old friend Abraham didn’t lose his “drive” and takes another “dive” while he is still “alive” (sorry…sometimes I just like to rhyme when I write). I just hope I am as active when I am in my late 100’s…lol. But, hey, Abraham was regarded as a man of great faith and so I suppose it has its perks. And so coming to verse 1 we read…

[Gen 25:1 NKJV] Abraham again took a wife, and her name [was] Keturah.

According to some of the commentary I read on the topic of Abraham’s remarriage suggest that Abraham married again from his own household. It was likely that Keturah was chosen from amongst Sarah’s maidservants to serve as the mistress of the clan, to oversee the duties that Sarah once managed, and as a companion for Abraham in his old age. Other commentators suggest that Keturah was a concubine while Sarah was still alive and this accounting is taken out of chronology to wind down the telling of Abrahams life story. Concubine or companion, it would seem there was no shortage of companionship as we read in verse 2…

[Gen 25:2 NKJV] And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
[Gen 25:3 NKJV] Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
[Gen 25:4 NKJV] And the sons of Midian [were] Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah, and Eldaah. All these [were] the children of Keturah.

Now, I want to pause here for just a moment and think about this. Six kids. Six of them in his old age. I have six kids myself and I only in my forties. I can’t imagine being that old and having 6 kids! Not to mention the other two he already had. Reminds me of that old television show Eight Is Enough! But seriously, it is interesting that the Bible takes care to mention all of these wonderful names, but we have to keep in mind that these genealogies, while important enough to be mentioned find their way into the not so important file as we continue on down the line. We have to understand that the thesis of the Bible is centered around the most important figure in all of time and eternity, Jesus who is the Christ. We may see a name here or a name there but if it does not support the thesis, the name fades away into the background of history. There are some characters mentioned and we may see them again from time to time mentioned in the Scriptures as a reference to something they did or some event that took place where their mention supports the thesis. But for the most part, as we travel through the Bible the names all give way to central figure in all of His story, the LORD Jesus.

[Gen 25:5 NKJV] And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.
[Gen 25:6 NKJV] But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.

Now, this is an interesting passage because it shows that Abraham understood the promise of God and what God had intended for his son Isaac. We know that according to tradition the “birth-right” should have gone to Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son; however, we know that God had another plan. Abraham had sent Ishmael and his mother Hagar out according to Sarah’s words and God’s approval. But I should add, in all fairness, Isaac was worthy of the birthright in the sense that he was the firstborn of Sarah, Abraham’s “proper” wife and not the product of a handmaiden or concubine. This would have made Isaac the preeminent son in the culture anyway. And here at the end of Abraham’s days when it was customary to give the blessings and pass on the inheritance, we find that Abraham bestows upon the son of promise the rights and all of the blessings that were marked for the firstborn. Essentially, Abraham wills his entire estate to his son Isaac.

To his remaining children, Abraham bestowed gifts. These were not token gifts either. I am certain that a man of his wealth showered his children with good gifts, still, the lion share went to Isaac. Abraham, also sensitive to the promise of God sent the other children away to another land beyond the land of promise as he, no doubt, understood that this was an inheritance for Isaac and his seed after him.

[Gen 25:7 NKJV] This [is] the sum of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years.

One hundred and seventy-five years! If I make it to seventy it will be amazing! But if the LORD permits and does not tarry in His return, I will take every year He gives me as a blessing and my marching orders to continue on in His WORD and His purposes.

[Gen 25:8 NKJV] Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full [of years], and was gathered to his people.

What a beautiful picture here. For many, these latter years are the years spent in geriatric care or hospice settings. When we think of our own mortality, we don’t like to picture the helplessness of old age. Some are fortunate to live and remain active up until the day they die. I hope I am one of those. But I suppose a great deal of how we spend our last days will be dependent on how will take care of ourselves in the years and decades prior. If that is the case, I think I need to start treating my body a whole lot better.

But I love the poetic way that Bible describes the death of Abraham. He breathed his last. When I think of my own dad and the horrific way he spent his last moments on earth with the automatic chest compression machine on his chest pounding away at his sternum, I would have preferred for him, as ornery as he was, to have still died a peaceful death at a good old age, an old man full of years to be gathered to his people. I know that is flowery language is the kind of language we use at funerals and such, but I shudder to think what it will be like for those who do not have the hope of eternity with Christ in heaven.

[Gen 25:9 NKJV] And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, which [is] before Mamre, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite,

[Gen 25:10 NKJV] the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth. There Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife.

It would appear that there was a reunion of sorts here between Isaac and Ishmael. No doubt this was an awkward moment for the two of them and there must have been a bit of animosity, but the fact that they were both able to lay aside their differences for the sake of Abraham and honor him is quite a statement to the life of Abraham. I think about the kind of animosity that my father and his sister had towards one another when my grandparents passed away. At the funeral, you could cut the tension with a knife. I think that as believers we have a responsibility to bury hatchets and old grudges when the opportunity avails itself. I would go further to add that we should seek out the opportunity to make amends with those who have wronged us or who we have perhaps wronged.

[Gen 25:11 NKJV] And it came to pass, after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac. And Isaac dwelt at Beer Lahai Roi.

God is faithful to His WORD and to His promises. The legacy of Abraham and the promise God gave Abraham would now be carried by Isaac. We see immediately that God blesses Isaac. And what I find interesting is that Isaac dwells now atΒ Beer Lahai Roi. If you will recall, this name is significant as it was the name given to the well that the Angel of the LORD revealed to Hagar when she and Ishmael were cast out and dying of thirst in the wilderness.

[Gen 25:12 NKJV] Now this [is] the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham.
[Gen 25:13 NKJV] And these [were] the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
[Gen 25:14 NKJV] Mishma, Dumah, Massa,
[Gen 25:15 NKJV] Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.
[Gen 25:16 NKJV] These [were] the sons of Ishmael and these [were] their names, by their towns and their settlements, twelve princes according to their nations.
[Gen 25:17 NKJV] These [were] the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.
[Gen 25:18 NKJV] (They dwelt from Havilah as far as Shur, which [is] east of Egypt as you go toward Assyria.) He died in the presence of all his brethren.

Again we have the genealogies. This time they center around Ishmael. You will recall that God promised that Ishmael would become a great nation as well. It is from his descendants that many of the Arab nations come. We see that Ishmael lived a long life as well and died amongst his people. I know Ishmael is given a bad rap by many as he is described as a wild man and it was prophesied that he would be in a constant struggle. But here at the end of his days, we see that he was surrounded by his brethren at the time of his death.

I wish that could be said of everyone. Sadly, many people die alone. They do not have the comfort of others to see them on their eternal journey. That is why I think hospital visitations and visiting assisted living centers is a noble ministry. I was reading a book by Derek Prime and one of my all-time favorite pastors, Alistair Begg, in which they comment that one of the functions of a pastor is the visitation to those who cannot come to church whether due to infirmity or old age and inability. I know there are entire ministries centered around this kind of visitation, but I think it says a whole lot about a pastor who will take time to visit his flock wherever they are. Should the LORD see fit to place the mantle of pastoring upon my shoulders, I hope that this comes to mind.

[Gen 25:19 NKJV] This [is] the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham begot Isaac.
[Gen 25:20 NKJV] Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian.

Now, I want to stop here for today because the story takes a shift moving forward and it seems like this would be a nice place to cut it off for today. But in these verses, we move to a more significant genealogy, one that supports the thesis I noted earlier. It is through the bloodline of Isaac that Messiah would come. Another interesting thing here for me personally is that age at which Isaac was married. I was 35 years old when I got married. I felt I was a little old to be starting a family, but as it turns out, I may have been on to something. LOL.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for this day and all the blessing which accompanied it. I want to thank You for my “tent-making business,” and for my clients. I want to thank You for giving me the ability to serve them and do them good. I appreciate the fact that my clients are also my friends and that You have seen fit to give me a career that is enjoyable. I lift up each of my clients to You now and pray for their prosperity. That You would bless the work that I have done for them and cause them to grow. May You receive the glory for all that You are doing in and through me. LORD, I lift my wife and children up to You today as well and ask that You would make an opportunity for us tonight to talk about You around the dinner table and on into the evening. I pray that You would be the center of our family now and forever. I lift up my daughter to You and ask that You would quell her fears about her recent discovery and that You would handle that situation so that she would be satisfied and in good spirits. I also want to lift up my pastor and his family and ask that while they wait for the worst to take its course, You would provide comfort followed by miraculous healing. I am so looking forward to that testimony LORD. It is in Your name that I pray. –Amen

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