Genesis: The Beginning
Abraham Dies 1-24-16
READ: Genesis 25
Yesterday, we read about how God helped Eliezer find the right wife for Isaac according to Abraham’s request. Today, we will read about the sons of Abraham and how they handle their father’s death.
Abraham takes a secondary wife or concubine, Keturah (name means fragrance or sacrifice); Abraham has many descendants with Keturah. He confers his entire estate to Isaac-his rightful heir-but Abraham gives all of his descendants gifts (flocks) to demonstrate his love before sending them away.
Abraham dies at the age of 175; he has lived a good life-a life of faith-just as God promised. Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham beside Sarah in the cave at Machpelah near Mamre. Please note Isaac is the rightful heir and has greater authority even though Ishmael is the oldest child. Life presents a new beginning for Isaac who is now the patriarch of the family.
Isaac chooses to settled in Beer-lahai-roi (translates “the well of the Living One who sees me”) in the Negev or south desert. This is the place where Hagar experiences the LORD and realizes God hears and sees. God blesses and prospers Isaac in this place, because like his father, Abraham, Isaac walks with God.
Ishmael has many descendants just as God promised Hagar. This is also a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham to prosper Ishmael when years ago he sent Hagar and the teen boy away at Sarah’s request. Ishmael lived 137 years and produces the twelve princes God promises to him; then, Ishmael dies. Ishmael’s descendants settle in Arabia, but they live in constant hostility with their brothers (and they still do to this day-e.g. Saudi and Iran).
After twenty years of praying and asking God’s help to create descendants, Isaac and Rebekah have children; twin sons named Jacob and Esau. (NOTE: Isaac prays and waits for descendants in faith). These twins wrestle and struggle against one another even in Rebekah’s womb. She asks the LORD why this is happening and the LORD says, “The sons in your womb will become two nation (Edomites and Israelites). Form the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son” (this is a reversal of the custom).
When Isaac is sixty years old the twins-Esau and Jacob-are born. The name Esau translates “red” as the child is covered with red hair. The name Jacob translates “trickster” or “heel catcher” as he is born holding onto Esau’s heel. Esau is rather profane; a rough hunter. He loves things in the physical world and is ruled by his appetite. Jacob is quiet and reserved; a gentle or peaceful demeanor but all the while studying life to gain privilege. Favoritism is going on in the family as Jacob favors Esau and Rebekah favors Jacob. Isaac is the one who will pass on the blessing. Who will gain the blessing and inheritance of Isaac?
Jacob is an opportunist and one day he makes a pot of stew just as his brother, Esau, returns from an exhausting hunt. It’s like an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen! Esau demands Jacob give him some of the stew. Jacob agrees on one condition, “All right, but trade me your rights as a firstborn son.” Esau complains, “I’m dying of starvation here; give me stew now!” Jacob says, “First, swear to me your birthright!” So, Esau swore an oath to forfeit his birthright to Jacob. With the birthright comes privilege and every spiritual blessing from the LORD; in fact the birthright brings a double portion of inheritance. Sadly, Esau has not learned to value the blessing of God.
God knows our future and we need to grow in our love and trust of Him; these lessons consistently point to God’s faithfulness. When we find ourselves struggling with physical appetites that seek to destroy us, we need to listen to the Spirit and trust God’s love to deliver us. God has our highest and best in mind every time. Blessings for your day…