This sermon is based on Genesis 25:1-18. Click here to read the text.
Death. Abraham lived 175 years then he died “in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people,” (v. 7). According to Hebrews 11, he “died in faith.” Abraham had been promised much by God – that he would have a son, that he would become a nation, that his people would be given a land, and that he would be the father of many nations. He died as one still believing that the LORD would fulfill everyone of His promises to Abraham, even those still unfulfilled at his death. In fact, the book of Hebrews goes so far as to say that Abraham’s ultimate hope was not in the earthly fulfillment of promises alone but in the heavenly fulfillment of those promises. For Abraham looking forward not only to a land in the here and now but to a “city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God,” (Hebrews 11:10), to a “better country, that is, a heavenly one,” (Hebrews 11:16). He died an old man, which is to say be was blessed by God with long life. He died full of years, which is to say that he was blessed by God with much in the way of earthly joys. He was gathered to his people, which is to say that there was life after death. He had experienced God’s faithfulness to him over the years and he believed that God would continue to be faithful to him beyond death. We have an even greater hope in Christ, who also died in faith, knowing that on the third day He would rise to life again to the glory of God the Father. His conquest of the grave stands as a firstfruits promise that all who are in Him will likewise rise as glorified ones, citizens fit for the New Jerusalem, the better country, the city with foundations built by God. Are we living by faith in Him? Are we prepared to die in faith in Christ?
Descendants. We have read previously of Abraham’s sons Isaac and Ishmael. I. This passage we find out that Abraham also had six other sons with his concubine (Genesis 25:1-4; 1 Chronicles 1:32) Keturah. Those six sons went on to be the fathers of various tribes who lived in the country to the east of Canaan. Additionally the passage highlights the twelvefold blessing of sons that the LORD gave to Ishmael. His sons also “fathered” various tribes in the regions of Sinai and Arabia (vv. 12-18). Abraham was promised he would be the father of many nations, and there is evidence in these brief genealogies that the promise was seen in part through his sons’ fruitfulness. But, none of these sons by concubines were the son of promise. That distinction, by God’s design, was exclusively reserved for Isaac. In keeping with God’s sovereign election of Isaac, Abraham sent the six sons of Keturah off to the east, leaving Isaac as his only heir (vv. 5-6). Though Isaac was singularly blessed as the heir of the covenant, his descendants would be blessed innumerably. Indeed, beyond the people of Israel their awaited a day when a descendant of Isaac, the seed of Abraham would come and bless not only the nation itself but people of all nations. Isaac was the only heir of Abraham at his death, but through the death and resurrection of Christ many have been made not only the sons of Abraham but sons of God, heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:25, 29).
Discuss and Pray – Genesis 25:1-18
- How can you live now as one who is ready to die in faith?
- What promises of God have you received in the here and now? What promises still await you beyond death?
- “These are the days of Abraham’s life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man full of years, and was gathered to his people.” What would be the last words written of you (i.e. Your obituary) if you died today?
- Isaac was Abraham’s heir according to the promise of God. God blessed him accordingly. In what ways has the Lord blessed you as an heir in Christ according to promise?
- If in Christ people of every nation are made heirs of God’s promises then what encouragement does that give us in evangelism? In reaching across racial and ethnic boundaries in our own community?