Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018.06.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 25:1-18

Questions for Littles: What did Abraham get in v1? How many sons did she bear him (v2)? Thinking about Abraham’s life so far, why is this so amazing? What did Abraham give to Isaac (v5)? What does v6 call Hagar and Keturah? What did he give their sons? Where did he send them? How long did Abraham live (v7)? What point does v8 make about this age? Yet, how does this compare in length to some of his ancestors? To whom was he gathered in v8? Then what happened to him in v9? Who buried him? To whom did the special blessing of God pass on (v11)? Where did Isaac dwell? Whose genealogy do we have in vv12-18? How many princes came from him? How long did he live? To whom was he gathered in v17?  
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have the transition from Abraham to Isaac. Notice the great blessings that continue to fall upon Abraham and everyone connected with him. Between the ages of 137 (when Sarah died) and 175, Abraham remarries and proceeds to have six more sons. Considering the fact that he was considered old for having children at 100, this is pretty amazing!

And he has enough to give gifts to Ishmael and to all of them without making a significant dent in his possessions, because after that it can still be said, “He gave all that he had to Isaac.” Isaac, of course, isn’t just his son; Isaac is the son of the promise.

So, there is blessing that attends everyone connected with Abraham, but the main blessing without which the rest would matter little goes to the one from whom the Christ will come: Isaac.

The Holy Spirit also gives us a clue here that Ishmael is a believer in the Savior who will come through Isaac. Yes, God blesses Ishmael greatly, and just as promised (cf. Gen 17:20), 12 princes come from Ishmael.

But the real blessings are Ishmael’s hope in the resurrection, as he returns to participate in burying Abraham with Isaac, and then what happens at Ishmael’s own death. When Abraham dies, it first tells us that he was gathered to his people, and then that he was buried by his sons.

This “being gathered to his people” doesn’t, therefore, refer to burial. Sarah was the only one in that cave, and the gathering was something that happened when his spirit departed, not when his body was committed back to the earth.

Therefore, when we see the same phrase used of Ishmael in v17, we don’t understand it of burial either. He breathed his last, died, “and was gathered to his people.” Who are his people? Well, one of them is his father, Abraham, who preceded him in death by 46 years. Ishmael’s soul departed to where Abraham’s soul had departed.

It is precious that, despite his rocky start, Ishmael did not allow jealousy or spite to keep him from hoping in Christ. We too might wish to have a central role in the work of God on earth, but those things are up to the providence of God. What is far more important for us is that we would be hoping in Christ Himself, who is THE center of all of God’s saving work. Then, at our deaths, we will be gathered to our people—the people who trust in Jesus!
Who are “your people” who have gone before you? Who are “your people” now on earth?
Suggested songs: ARP87 “The Lord’s Foundation” or HB435 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”

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