Read Genesis 25:1-18
Here in Genesis 25:1-18 we’ll see a third wife or concubine of Abraham’s and the sons born to him through her. Abraham’s death is also noted here as well as the accounting of Ishmael’s sons.
After the death of Sarah Abraham takes another wife or concubine named Keturah. And in an illustration of how the power of the promise is greater than the limitations of the physical, she becomes yet another who’s involved in the fulfillment of the LORD’s promise to Abraham to make him the father of many nations. Abraham, advanced in years though he was, through Keturah had six children: Zimram, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
Abraham gave gifts to his concubine’s sons and sent them away from Isaac to the land of the East. He gave his estate in its entirety to Isaac. So he served as the executor of his own will. I believe this to be a wise thing for a person to do even today. The health of the relationships in your family will be well served if you administer your estate while you’re still alive, to the degree that you can.
After distributing his wealth to his sons, Abraham died at the age of one hundred seventy-five. He was full of years and his years were full. His years were full of fellowship with the LORD and full of adventure. We’re told in verse eight that he was gathered to his people. In Luke 16 Jesus tells us that Abraham is in Paradise so apparently Abraham’s people were those who dwell there. Who are your people and to whom will you be gathered? Do the people at church feel comfortable around you and do you feel comfortable around them? Would the people populating heaven feel that you’re one of them? Would they consider you one of their own? Are you more comfortable around people of the world? When the end comes, who will you be gathered to? There will come a day for all of us when no question will be more important.
Isaac and Ishmael, formerly estranged from each other, come together, to bury their father in the cave of Machpelah [mak-pee-lah]where Sarah was buried. This was the cave in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite. It’s important to note here that in order for people to reconcile, somebody has to die. Isaac and Ishmael weren’t reconciled until Abraham died. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 that God reconciled us to Himself through the death of Jesus. When you and another are having difficulty with each other only one thing will lead to reconciliation — somebody has to die. “Yea but it’s not fair!” You might be thinking. “Yea but he’s wrong!” You might be saying. It may not be fair and the other person may well be in the wrong, but God wants you to reconcile anyway and somebody has to die for that to happen.
Die to self.
Jesus was so big on reconciliation that he said if you’re at the altar offering a gift to the LORD and you remember that you’re not right with a brother or sister, you should immediately leave the altar and reconcile yourself to that person, then come back to offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24) So if a relationship with another isn’t right, Jesus wants you to resolve the situation with that person before you’re in His presence for worship. Paul tells us that God reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18) You’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation. You and I are to be about the business of reconciling others to Jesus as well as reconciling one person to another.
After Abraham died God blessed Isaac who continued to live near Beer Lahai Roi which means well of the living one seeing me.
Finally in this passage we see another one of God’s promises to Abraham fulfilled. Do you remember what the LORD told Abraham about Ishmael in Genesis chapter 17? He said, I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” (Genesis 17:20-21) Here we see that just as God said it would happen Ishmael had twelve sons. From oldest to youngest: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah.
Ishamel died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven. His descendants settled near the Eastern border of Egypt. Genesis 25:18 tells us that they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
Though the LORD said to Abraham, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac,” He also said that Abraham would be the father of many nations. His eight children would indeed go on to produce many nations including Israel, Edom, and the Arab nations.
So in all, Abraham had a total of eight sons: Isaac, Ishmael, and the six sons of Keturah. But that wasn’t the only fruit born through Abraham. We find another list of eight in 2 Peter 1:3-8.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8
It amazes me how accurately this list of godly virtues describes the life of Abraham. Could it be that this was by divine design? Perhaps it’s not coincidental that the fruit listed in 2 Peter 1 and the sons of Abraham are identical in number.
Notice that faith is at the top of the list. Doesn’t that fit Abraham’s life perfectly? He was a man who believed God in spite of his circumstances. Believing in God in spite of your circumstances is the very definition of faith. Just as believing in your circumstances in spite of God is the very definition of unbelief. When Jesus told Peter to come out onto the water Peter did it, in spite of his circumstances, in spite of the storm raging around him, he believed. He walked on water — the only human beside Jesus to ever do so in the history of mankind. William Carey tells us to “Expect great things from God, and to attempt great things for God.” Peter was a man who lived out Carey’s exhortation as was Abraham.
Not that Abraham didn’t experience failures. Abraham was cut from the same cloth as you and I. It’s been said that all humans are made from the same mold but some of us are moldier than others. Abraham was capable of unbelief and as a result there were times when he fell down. This is encouraging when you think about it. Abraham failed the same as you and me. So when you hear God directing you to do something, recognize that you’re going to fail sometimes and also recognize that if the father of faith can fail yet still prevail, so can you. So don’t let the prospect of failing slow you down, go ahead and move forward anyway! Peter, after walking on water for a bit, sank. Peter called Jesus the Christ at which point Jesus called Peter the Rock, but then Peter tried to forbid Jesus from His path to the cross at which point Jesus called Peter Satan. Peter told Jesus he’d die for Him then he denied Jesus to a little girl. Peter ran away from the cross but later asked that he be crucified upside down. Peter used the sword to cut off a man’s ear but later use the sword of God’s word to save 3,000 people.
Peter and Abraham experienced failures and so will you.
Remember: Nothing of significance has ever been accomplished without failures.
It’s important to move forward. Had Abraham stayed in Ur of the Chaldeans we wouldn’t be reading about his adventures today. He wouldn’t be known as the father of faith. You can’t steer a car that remains safely parked in the driveway. Seek God’s direction then go out and take risks. The key isn’t not falling down, the key is learning to get back up and move forward. The difference between a man of faith and a man of unbelief isn’t that the man of faith doesn’t fall. Both men fall. The difference is that the man of faith gets back up and continues forward — as Abraham did.
…without faith it is impossible to please God…
Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.
Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.
This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
Courson, Ben. A Generation Chosen. Jacksonville, OR: Searchlight, 2010
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As usual, the way you present the Lord’s Word is clearly empowered by the Spirit. I so enjoy reading this blog.
One question…you note that Peter asked to be crucified upside down. I’d been told that was more Catholic tradition than one being able to actually find such a reference in the Bible. Can you tell me the verse where this is noted? I’ve spent some time and haven’t fiund it yet.
Thank you Kurt.
Good to hear from you Kurt. Yes, you are absolutely right. There is not one single scripture to indicate Peter was crucified upside down. It’s a tradition I believe may be true, but the evidence supporting it is limited.
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