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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 17, 2016

Genesis 25:1-21

  1. Verses 1-4. Our text begins with Abraham taking another wife, whose name was Keturah. Sarah died at 127 (23:1). This means Abraham was at least 137 when he married Keturah. But what is even more impressive is that he had more sons with his new wife. In these verses we discover that Abraham had other children...six more sons. Can you imagine beginning parenthood again at about 140 years old? Can you imagine being surrounded with toddlers when you are 60, much less 160? Verse 7 informs us that Abraham died at 175. This means there could have been 38 years for the birth of these six sons. The listing of the sons is very important. Genealogies tell a story to those who will take the time to read them. Abraham's six sons become the descendants of several nations. Notice one of the sons is Midian. This is important because Moses will marry a woman from Midian. Furthermore, listing these sons of Abraham provides a demonstration of God's faithfulness. In 12:2-3, God promised to bless Abraham. In 15:4, He promised Abraham that he would have a son. In 15:15, God promised Abraham that he would live to a ripe old age. In 17:5-6, 16, God promised Abraham that nations, kings, and rulers would come from him. In 17:7, God promised Abraham that the covenant would be passed on to his son. God was making the point that faith will continue to the next generation. When we trust in God, He is faithful to fulfill His promises. That's why we must remember that our legacy is only successful as we pass the promises. There is a temptation to think that these other nations did not carry the faith that Abraham had. I believe that Abraham passed his faith to them as well. Too many bible scholars treat the other nations as nations who had no faith at all. They may have strayed, but surely were given the faith as well.

  2. Verses 5-6. Abraham divides up his inheritance. Abraham gave everything he owned after his death to Isaac, because he was the legal firstborn. But it is important to notice that in 25:6 Abraham also gave gifts to his other sons while he was still alive. By giving them gifts he honored each of his sons. This was a very common practice to give the oldest son the family home and send the other sons away with a portion of their father's wealth. Normally this was done prior to the younger sons having children of their own. By sending them away to the east he indicated that Isaac and only Isaac was the son of the promise. Since he is to be the sole heir of the covenant it is important for Moses to indicate that all other heirs have been cared for and have received their due. They have no claims on that which belongs to Isaac. Isaac inherited everything that belonged to Abraham at the time of Abraham's death. Yet, Abraham took responsibility for his other sons and provided for them during his lifetime, so there should be no dispute at the time of his death. Abraham passed out an inheritance to his children “while he was still living.” The point of verses 1-6 is to establish the fact that Abraham was, in fact, the father of many nations, and to show the story of how the Messiah would come. Ishmael had just as much as Isaac materially, but the promise Messiah could only come through one of the sons.

  3. Verses 7-8. The text says that Abraham dies. Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people. By Abraham's time the human life span had been so curtailed due to the physical effects of the fall that 175 years was regarded as a “ripe old age.” The text says that he was satisfied with life. That meant that he died feeling that he had accomplished his purpose. His life had some ups and downs, but he felt like he had done what the Lord wanted him to do in the end. He was content with dying because he felt all was done. That is how we should go if we have the chance. We should leave this world knowing we have fulfilled our purpose.

  4. Verses 9-10. Abraham is buried by his two oldest sons. Interesting that even though Ishmael was not with Abraham, it appears that Isaac and Ishmael were friendly towards each other and held no animosity between them. Remember Ishmael was promised by God to be a wealthy man and Isaac is a wealthy man. God has blessed both of them to the point it made no sense for either of them to hold a grudge. Isn't it funny how death can sometimes split families up, but in this text it seems to have united some family members. The main emphasis of the narrative in this section lies in the fact that Abraham was buried in the field that he purchased from Ephron the Hittite. The final resting place of Abraham was in a portion of the Promised Land that he rightfully owned (23:1-20).This tiny bit of land represented ownership in the land of promise. It was like a small title deed to the whole land of Canaan.

  5. Verse 11. This verse says that “after the death of Abraham Isaac lived.” I must remind everybody that we will all lose a loved one or many loved ones, but we must live on standing on the promises of God. Life keeps moving. This final verse gives us two significant facts about Isaac. First, God “blessed” him. This statement must be connected to the initial promise of blessing in 12:1-3 and then traced through the narratives. The blessing was passed on to Isaac; the God of Abraham was to be the God of Isaac as well. Second, the verse also reports that Isaac dwelt near Beer-Lahai-Roi, which means “well of the living One who sees me.” Here, God had heard Hagar and delivered her (16:14). And here Isaac had come to meditate as he awaited Rebekah (24:62). In the next section of our story, Isaac prays at this same location for his barren wife (25:21). Isaac thus dwelt in a place where prayer was effectual, where God could be found, and God blessed him.

  6. Verses 12-18. Before the text continues with the promised line of Isaac he rounds out the episode with the “generations” of Ishmael. These verses demonstrate that God kept His promises to Ishmael. This too highlights the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promises concerning Abraham. God had blessed Ishmael. He had nothing to complain about.

  7. Verses 19-21. Genesis is a record of ten successive “generations.” The point being: generations come and go but the Lord remains and never changes (Ps 90:1). The book of Genesis is a record of the faithfulness and patience of God. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah. So Isaac waited a long time to find “Miss Right.” If you are single, don't lose hope. Don't worry about looking for the right person. If God’s will is for you to marry, He'll bring you the right person at the right time. Your responsibility is simply to become the right person yourself and make sure you accomplish God's will, God's way. After waiting 40 years to marry, no doubt Isaac wanted to have children. Yet, 25:21 states that Rebekah “was barren.” Just as Sarah before her and Rachel after her (29:31; 30:1-2), Rebekah had been unable to provide the all-important male offspring promised by God. 20 years has passed and Isaac is approaching 60 and Rebekah is still barren. Worse yet, Isaac's brother, Ishmael, had produced 12 sons to Isaac's zero (25:12-18). Fortunately, Isaac prayed. The word translated “prayed” (athar) means “to plead.” The term is used in Exodus to describe Moses’ powerful prayer to the Lord to remove the plagues (Exod 7-10). Isaac prayed to the Lord “on behalf of his wife...and she conceived.” Husband, the best thing you can do for your wife is to pray for her. Don't try to solve her problems, just pray! While Isaac wanted children, just like every other couple, he was more concerned about God's plan for fulfilling His covenant and blessing the whole world through the promised Messiah (3:15; 12:1-3). The entire book of Genesis emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the wisdom of His “delays.” Sarah and Abraham had to wait 25 years before Isaac was born; Jacob had to labor for 14 years to obtain his two wives; and Joseph had to wait over 20 years before he was reconciled to his brothers. Our times are in God's hands (Ps 31:15), and His timing is never wrong. Today, maybe you're waiting for something to happen. Just wait a little while longer. Unanswered prayer is often God's way of getting our attention.

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