Summary: Can Christians “miss” God’s will for their lives? Could Jacob fail to be an heir of the promise? God is at work accomplishing His will through all history, and He will not fail us!
We’re studying through the book of Genesis and learning about God’s work in the life of Abraham. God called him from Ur, saw him through a famine, gave him victory in a major battle, rescued his wife from Pharaoh and Abimelech, delivered a son to him in his old age, provided a ram to die in the place of his son on Mount Moriah, and then He secured the first part of the Promised Land from the sons of Heth.
Last week we saw how He provided a wife for Isaac in a miraculous way, but Abraham’s life is now coming to an end. Now we’ll read of his death and burial and I guess in most storybooks that would be a good place to put “The End.” But this isn’t a regular storybook and Abraham isn’t the main character. After him we read about his son Isaac. But Isaac eventually dies too and we read about his son Jacob. But Jacob dies too and we read about his son Joseph. Fast forward a little and we get to the story of Moses and then Joshua and then the judges of Israel and then the kings of Israel and then the prophets. 400 years go by without another chapter in the story, but then the Christ is born. That’s sort of the apex of the story, but it’s not the only one. The Christ grows and dies but He’s raised again with power over sin and death. He ascends back to heaven with the promise to return.
Then we read the story of the early church and we read a lot of the doctrine from the apostles and see how the Christ fulfilled the Old Testament. Finally, in the closing prophecy (Revelation) we see how God will fulfill His promise to Adam and Abraham and to all of us who are His when He judges the whole earth and makes all things new.
You see? The whole story ties together beautifully and God is the main focus. But He works through men and today we’ll see how he finishes His work with Abraham before giving him rest and then how He begins to work in Isaac and Jacob.
Let’s start in verse one:
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Now I know the genealogies can be intimidating and maybe even boring, but they’re here for a reason. Abraham and Keturah had 6 kids and we’re told of 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. You might be wondering why it’s important, and I’ll refer you back to Genesis 17:5-6. God says, “Thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.” These children (along with Ishmael and Isaac) are a fulfillment of the promise. God is making Abraham the father of many nations.
5And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
The rule was that the eldest son got a double portion of the father’s estate and the rest of the children got an equal share of everything else. But “in Isaac shall thy seed be called” means that no other sibling is considered an heir at all, so Isaac gets everything. The rest of the children are given gifts (not an inheritance) and they’re sent away to live out of the Promised Land.
7And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
8Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
It’s sad to see someone like Abraham die, but the curse brought on by Adam affects us all. Anyway, Abraham’s life was hard at times but very blessed in others. He lived to a good old age and then he was gathered to his people.
9And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 10The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
And now the focus changes: