Turn to Genesis 25:1-11. The story of Abraham is the story of a man who was the friend of God. The fullness of his life was based upon that redemptive friendship which he had with the living God. As we read about the final stages of Abraham's life, several questions arise: “What is going to become of Abraham's descendants?”, “Are they going to continue in this unique covenant relationship that the Lord has established with Abraham?”, “How is the chosen line going to be maintained against the threats that it faces?” Genesis 25 continues to supply the answers to those questions. This passage can easily be divided into three sections. First, we are told about Abraham's new wife and the children she bore him in verses 1-4. Second, we are told about Abraham's provision for Isaac in verses 5-6. Finally, we are told about the incidents around the death and burial of Abraham in verses 7-11. 



I. Abraham's new wife. 

In Genesis 25:1-4, we are told that Abraham takes a new wife; and he becomes the father of other nations, not only of Isaac and Ishmael, but of other children. As such, we learn in this passage that God is faithful to His promises. Specifically, God blesses Abraham with other descendants. In these verses, Moses documents the families that emerged from his marriage to Keturah. One of his offspring mentioned in verses 1-4 was Midian. It is important to remember that the Midianites were destined to play a role in Israel's future as Israel came back into the land. The Midianites were themselves half-brothers of Israel because they were also descendants of Abraham. We are also struck here by the fact, that even at the end of his life, God is still fulfilling His pledge to make Abraham the father of many nations. The Lord had not only blessed him with Ishmael and Isaac, but now God gives him other descendants through his concubine, Keturah. As such, God fulfills his promise and Abraham is called upon to trust Him to the very end. We never outgrow the need to trust in God. The Almighty God's promises continue as long as we have breath. The first four verses in this passage provide evidence of that assurance. 



II. Isaac's unique place in God's plan. 

In Genesis 25:5-6, Abraham secures the unique place that Isaac is going to have in the plan of God and in the receiving of the promises of God to Abraham. Specifically, we learn in this passage that the covenant of grace affords us benefits that we have not earned and do not deserve. In verse 5, we learn that Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. In verse 6, we are made aware that Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines while he was still living, and that he sends them away from Isaac, eastward to the east country. Even in the wake of Sarah's death, Abraham is very careful, even with other children around, to protect Isaac's distinctive birthright. In order to keep from there being a battling over the land which was to be given to Isaac now as the inheritor of Abraham's promises, the other sons are given an inheritance during his lifetime and sent away. 

This outcome is very interesting because we see an inequity in the way Abraham’s children are treated. However, Abraham did this because God said that Isaac is to be your heir. Therefore, Abraham's action was not the action of a father who was unwise or who was spoiling one child and neglecting the others. Abraham's actions were based upon the revelation of God that Isaac was to be the one through whom the line of the promise came. From this passage, we learn again that common blessings are given by God; however, covenant blessings are given by God to those who are the heirs of the promise. A distinction is made between Isaac and his brethren, and that distinction resides not in the bias of a father. In fact, Moses has already told us if it were up to the bias of the father, Ishmael would have been the favored child. This distinction has been made by God, and that distinction is not made on something based in the life of Isaac himself. This incident reminds us that Isaac is a recipient of the promises by the free and gracious and unconditional promises of God. Isaac did nothing to deserve this. When God made this appointment, Isaac wasn't even in existence. Thus, we are reminded again that the covenant of grace whereby God bestows His blessings is something that is based on the unearned favor of God. Nobody earns or merits God’s grace. It is given to us by the free favor of God.



III. The death and burial of Abraham. 

In Genesis 25:7-11, we see the account of the death and the burial of Abraham. We also see at the very end of the passage the indication of God's hand of favor upon Isaac. Perhaps we learn the most important lesson of the passage here. Specifically, we learn in these verses that friendship with God makes for fullness of life. It is friendship with God that allows a man to die full of years and satisfied. It is God who gives you that contentment that enables you simultaneously to enjoy life, but also to be ready to leave it when He calls. God had given that blessing to Abraham. We are also told in verse 8 that Abraham not only was aged and full of life and satisfied, but that he was gathered to his people. As Matthew Henry says, “Death gathers us to our people. Those that are our people while we live, whether they are the people of God or the children of this world, are the people to whom death will gather us.” Will we be gathered to the children of promise, or will we be gathered to the children of this world? It depends upon with whom we find our ultimate fellowship in this life. In this passage, we learn that Abraham was gathered to God and His people.

Finally, we learn in verse 9 that Isaac and Ishmael are temporarily reunited. At the funeral of Abraham, they share together in the responsibilities of preparing the funeral services of Abraham. Then, after the services are over for Abraham, we learn that God Himself confirms the covenant blessings on Isaac in verse 11. The blessing of Abraham did not die with him. Isaac settled at that residence, Beer-lahai-roi, where God had first taken care of Hagar and Ishmael, and where God had first shown Isaac his wife, Rebekah. As we come to the end of this passage, we are reminded that the fullness of Abraham's life was because of his friendship with God. The things that made Abraham's life rich were not his possessions or the great age which God had granted him, but rather it was his relationship with God. It is also important for us to remember that God has chosen to call us friends, and that He longs for us to be in an eternal, saving, redemptive friendship with Him. May the Lord make it a reality in all of our lives that we should be called the friends of God.