Summary: Part 42 in our Genesis series
The Death of Abraham (Genesis pt. 42)
Text: Genesis 25:1-11
By: Ken McKinley
Well our look into the life of Abraham is about to come to an end. We’ve followed him as he has learned to walk with God. We’ve seen his faith falter, and we’ve seen his faith grow. Last week the focus of Genesis began to shift from Abraham to Isaac, and as we start in our text this morning, we’ll see that Abraham is still alive, but these 11 verses are more like a wrap up, than they are the biography of the last years of a great man’s life. Some secular historians would say that this is a weakness in the Bible’s historical account. Because after all; in a historical sense, we tend to see the twilight years of a persons life as of great importance, because usually they reflect on all the lessons of life they’ve learned and are able to pass on their wisdom through their last words and deeds. But in a theological sense, it makes it a little easier to understand why Moses wouldn’t focus in on Abraham’s last years and pinpoint specifics… Because it’s never really been about Abraham. It’s about the God who sustained Abraham, and the God who has blessed Abraham, and the God who has entered into covenant with Abraham.
Abraham is at best a supporting character in this unfolding drama. The main character has been and always will be God Himself. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
So if you’ll take your Bible’s and open them up to Genesis 25:1-11, we’ll see Abraham’s curtain call, if you will (Read Text).
You know… for a long time, the Israelites would tell this story to their children. It was an oral tradition. And I can imagine being a Hebrew child, listening to this story, wondering what’s going to happen now. You know… Abraham has died; is God going to keep His covenant with Isaac now? How’s that going to work exactly? What’s going to happen to Isaac? God had shown Abraham grace and He was faithful to His promises, even when Abraham was unfaithful, is He going to do the same with Isaac?
Well before we get to any of that, we’ve got to wrap up the last act.
In verses 1 – 4 we are told that Abraham actually remarries after Sarah had died; and he has several other children. That’s a more complete fulfillment of the “Father of Nation’s” promise that God had given to Abraham way back in chapter 15. In-fact, one of his sons is Midian, and later on the Midianites will play a role in Israel’s return to the Promised Land.
When we get to verses 5 & 6 we see something even more important in this passage. Abraham gives all he has to Isaac. Now that doesn’t mean that none of Abraham’s other children got anything, because we’re told in these same verses… verse six, that he gave gifts to his other sons… but Isaac… Isaac is the promised son, so Isaac gets the majority of Abraham’s possessions. He gets the birthright. And he gets the land. And if you wanted to, you could look at this and see God’s grace here. Isaac was no more deserving of any of those things than Abraham’s other children. He was no more deserving than say Ishmael, or the children of Keturah, but he gets those things because he was chosen by God. And that is a pretty good picture of God’s special saving grace and what we call God’s common grace.
What I mean by that is: For us as Christians we receive the promises of God because He has had special saving grace upon us, an because we are in Christ, we are in covenant with God, and all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen! So because we’re in Christ we are forgiven, we are saved, we are justified, we are being sanctified, we will be glorified, we are declared righteous before God, we are a new creation… Those who aren’t in Christ can’t claim any of those things. And yet God still shows them grace. It’s what we call common grace. That doesn’t mean that anything God does is common, especially grace… what it means is that God allows them to continue to exist. He allows them to experience good things while they are living on this earth. God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. You see; God would be perfectly within His rights to not provide unbelievers with any good thing, but He shows them mercy and goodness despite the fact that they are in complete and utter rebellion against Him.
Never let anyone tell you that God is not good!
And so we see a picture of this right here in our text. Isaac is the promised son. He’s the one who is in covenant so he gets the blessings, but the others are not entirely forgotten. They are given gifts and provided for. And then Abraham sends them away, so that they won’t be fighting over the land after he dies. It belongs to Isaac. And this wasn’t Abraham spoiling his son… If Abraham would’ve had his way, we already read that he would’ve given it to Ishmael… But God has sovereignly declared that Isaac was the one who was promised, and it was Isaac who would inherit the covenant blessings. And the only reason Isaac is the one who is to inherit the covenant blessings is because God has chosen him to be the one. Isaac didn’t do anything to deserve it. When God made the promise to Abraham, Isaac hadn’t even been born. Remember? Abraham was asking God to allow the promises to go to Ishmael, and God said, “Nope! It’s not going to work that way Abraham.”