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BBBI - 2018.05.09 - PM - Satisfying Sunset (Gen. 25:1-11)

BBBI - OT101.2 - Genesis II  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:23
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God’s servants must do all they can to ensure that God’s program of blessing continues from generation to generation without interruption.

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Introduction

George McCluskey
You’ve probably never heard of George McCluskey. To my knowledge, no biographies have been written about his life. McCluskey was a man who decided to make a shrewd investment. As he married and started a family, he decided to invest one hour a day in prayer. He was concerned that his kids might follow Christ and establish their own homes where Christ was honored. After a time, he decided to expand his prayers to include not only his children, but their children and the children after them. Every day between 11 A.M. and noon, he would pray for the next three generations. [Steve Farrar, Point Man, p. 154; [Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).]
Main Thought:
God’s servants must do all they can to ensure that God’s program of blessing continues from generation to generation without interruption. [Ross]
Sub-Introduction:
Connecting Context:
This passage serves as a good summary to the story and life of Abraham.
Background/Intro Material:
The final account in Genesis of Abraham’s life covers his last thirty-five years. The account moves quickly over the thirty-five years; there are no reports of any special appearances of God to him or of any special trials from God for him. As Matthew Henry said, “All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, are not eminent days, some slide on silently.” [John G. Butler, Abraham: The Father of the Jews, vol. Number Nine, Bible Biography Series (Clinton, IA: LBC Publications, 1993), 367.]

I. God Writes a New Chapter (Gen. 25:1-4)

A. Abraham Remarries (Gen. 25:1):

Genesis 25:1 KJV 1900
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Abraham takes another wife named Keturah. Abraham moved on, married again, had more children, and was gathered together in peace with his people at a good old age.
Abraham marries Keturah whose name means “Incense”—perhaps signifying the sweet fragrance she added to Abraham’s life. [Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume One: Genesis–Job (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 120.]

B. The Promises of God Are, Yes (Gen. 25:2-4):

Genesis 25:2–4 KJV 1900
And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Abraham begets the Ancestors of several Arab Nations, thus fulfilling the promise that he would be the father of many nations.
Genesis 17:4 KJV 1900
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
1 Chronicles 1:32 KJV 1900
Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.
Application:
The interesting thing that we have before us here is the mention of Medan and Midian. The other boys will have nations come from them also, but I can’t identify them. I’m not interested in them because they do not cross our pathway in Scripture, but Midian does. We will find later that Moses will go down into the land of Midian and take a wife from there. Remember that the Midianites are in the line of Abraham and so are the Medanites. So we find here the fact that there are other sons of Abraham, but the Lord has said it is through Isaac that Abraham’s seed is called—not through any of these other sons. It is not through Ishmael, nor through Midian, nor Medan. All of these were nomads of the desert. [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 1 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 105.]
Transition: God's prerogative is to write new chapters in our lives as He sees fit, ours is to have the faith and fortitude to let Him. Now let's see Abraham's legacy:

II. To the Children's Children (Gen. 25:5-6)

A. Abraham Gave the Family Inheritance to Isaac (Gen. 25:5):

Genesis 25:5 KJV 1900
And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
Here we see Abraham disposing of his wealth to his son, Isaac, even as the Father in heaven gave all things to His Son (John 17).
Because all things will find their ultimate destination in Christ, anything I do which isn’t for Him results in hopelessness, while everything I do for and in Jesus positions me in the center of God’s will.
How does this work practically?
Suppose you are a UPS driver. God’s will for you is that you be a UPS driver for His glory. As you pull up to every stop, pray that God will gift those inside. And suddenly, your job will not be a matter of how many deliveries you can make in a day, but of how many people God can bless through you in a day. To the extent that you do this in any given day is the extent to which you will experience purpose and contentment. [Courson, 120.]

B. Abraham Gave Gifts to His Sons and Sent them Away (Gen. 25:6):

Genesis 25:6 KJV 1900
But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
Ishmael is the son born of the wrong way of doing God’s will. If we try to do God’s will through our own effort, we produce Ishmael. Much of our modern Christian enterprise is “Ishmael,” i.e., it is born not of God, but of an inordinate desire to do God’s will in our own way—the one thing Our Lord never did.
Ishmael, as we have seen, had to be dismissed and disciplined until he was willing to become subservient and be utilised for God’s purposes; and the natural has to be put completely under, dismissed and denied, until it is willing to be subjected to God, not to our ideas of relevancy. We put sin in the wrong place. Remember, we cannot touch sin. The Atonement of the Lord alone touches sin. We must not tamper with it for one second. We can do nothing with sin; we must leave God’s Redemption to deal with it. Our part has to do with “Ishmael,” i.e., the natural. The natural has to be denied, not because it is bad and wrong, but because it has nothing to do with our life of faith in God until it is turned into the spiritual by obedience. It is the attitude of the maimed life, which so few of us understand. [Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Where (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1996).]
Application:
Believers must ensure that the blessing of God passes on to the next generation (1–6).
Abraham had the responsibility of ensuring that the blessing, as God planned it, would pass to Isaac. The message in this part is straightforward: believers will die, and so they must ensure that the work begun in them by God will continue as God desires. It may be through their children, or it may be through some other means; but no one may personalize the program so that no thought is given to the next generation.
There is no way to tell for sure when Abraham married Keturah, but the verbs imply that it was after the death of Sarah. In that case there could have been thirty-eight years for the births of six sons, who were sent away before the death of Abraham. The problem in this section concerns the genealogical connections. Tribes in Sheba and Dedan, as well as Midianites, came from Abraham through Keturah. Others living in Sheba and Dedan and Midian did not come from Abraham (Gen. 10:7). But the passage bears witness to the fact that God truly made Abraham the father of many nations and tribes.
Abraham loved all his sons and gave them gifts before he sent them away—as he had done with Ishmael. This step was necessary to establish Isaac as the true heir, for these sons of the concubine could not be allowed to pose a threat to the heir of the promise. [Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 426.]
Transition: A wise man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, now let’s see how that Abraham lived:

III. Into a Good Old Age (Gen. 25:7-10)

A. Abraham Died in Peace (Gen. 25:7-8):

Genesis 25:7–8 KJV 1900
And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
THE SATISFIED LIFE.
"Full of years" (Gen 25:8).
This is a choice and suggestive phrase. It is not synonymous for longevity. Abraham lived to be 175; Isaiah, 180; Job, 140; David, 70; Jehoida, 130 (2Ch 24:15);
2 Chronicles 24:15 KJV 1900
But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
yet same expression is used for all. Read "satisfied" for "full"-really its meaning-and you have the true meaning of the term. And he acted like a satisfied man. No desperate clinging to life, no unwillingness to go. He was like one who, having had enough at the table, blesses the Giver of the feast, pushes back his chair, gets up, and goes away without a struggle, or with out the least resistance-satisfied!
What had he got? He went out of Mesopotamia expecting a country and a nation. But he dies with no possession save a grave, and with no further sight of posterity than his son Isaac, and his two grandsons, who were fifteen years old when he died. Then why was Abraham satisfied and not sickened with life? He lived the following life- a life:
1. Filled with God (Psa 105:40; Psa 107:9).
Psalm 105:40 KJV 1900
The people asked, and he brought quails, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
Psalm 107:9 KJV 1900
For he satisfieth the longing soul, And filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
2. He lived in enjoyment of the unmerited favour of God. "Satisfied with favour" (Deu 33:23). His faith was counted for righteousness.
Deuteronomy 33:23 KJV 1900
And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, And full with the blessing of the Lord: Possess thou the west and the south.
3. He daily received the mercies of God (Psa 90:14).
Psalm 90:14 KJV 1900
O satisfy us early with thy mercy; That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
4. He lived a life of trust in God. Is noted for his faith.
5. He lived a life of communion with God, in spite of many hindrances.
6. He lived a life of busy service for God.
7. And he lived in the full certainty of going to God. Ponder over the phrase, "Gathered to his people." [Dr. James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose: For Christian Workers and Bible Students, n.d., Ge 25:8–Ps 2:12.]
Barnhouse said, “The Hebrew of our text says that Abraham was satisfied with days.” That is, the number of days allotted him satisfied him; so that when the time of departure came, he was ready to go. But this is not the way of the world. Maclaren said, “We have all seen godless old men cynical and sour, pleased with nothing, grumbling, or feebly complaining about everything, dissatisfied with all which life has thus far yielded them, and yet clinging desperately to it, and afraid to go.” Wiersbe said, “How few people really experience joy and satisfaction when they reach old age! When they look back, it is with regret; when they look ahead, it is with fear; and when they look around it is with complaint.” That was not the case with Abraham, however. His faith in God throughout his life made his death far different that those without God.
How you live determines how you will die. If we want to end life successfully, we must live life successfully. We are not talking here about success materially, but about success spiritually. You do not die in peace if you have not lived in peace with God. [Butler, 377.]
“The days of the years” is a Hebrew phrase which speaks of quality of life because life is made up of days—individual, specific days. In his 64,000 days, Abraham, the friend of God, walked with God. The Christian life is not called the Christian leap, the Christian jump, or the Christian bounce. It’s called the Christian walk because it takes place one step, one day at a time.
What am I going to do tomorrow? Will I choose to walk with God—or do I expect somehow to bounce, leap, skip, or hop and end up a spiritual man at age fifty? What I do today will affect how I arrive at the end of my life. One of the greatest misconceptions in spiritual life is that when we’re old, we’ll automatically be spiritual. I need to know God’s Word today. I need to know God’s ways today. If I don’t, the end of my life will find me nothing more than an old fool. [Courson, 121.]

B. Laid to Rest Beside Sarah (Gen. 25:9-10):

Genesis 25:9–10 KJV 1900
And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
That low man seeks a little thing to do, 

Sees it and does it:

This high man, with a great thing to pursue. 

Dies ere he know it.

That low man goes on adding one to one,

His hundred’s soon hit: 

This high man, aiming at a million,

Misses an unit. 

That, has the world here—should he need the next, 

Let the world mind him! 

This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed,

Seeking shall find him.
-Browning
Application:
It is not what a man achieves, but what he believes and strives for that makes him noble and great. Hebrews 11 impresses this aspect of the life of faith over against the life of human perfection. The first thing faith in God does is to remove all thought of relevant perfection. Some lives may seem humanly perfect and yet not be relevant to God and His purpose. The effect such lives leave is not of a reach that exceeds its grasp, but of a completed little circle of their own. It takes a man completely severed from God to be perfect in that way. There is a difference between a perfect human life lived on earth and a personal life with God lived on earth; the former gasps that for which it reaches, the latter is grasped by that which it never can reach. The former chains us to earth by its very completeness; the latter causes us to fling ourselves unperplexed on God. The difference is not a question of sin, but the paradox of the incomplete perfection of a right relationship to God. [Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Where (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1996).]
Transition: God's prerogative is to write new chapters in our lives, ours is to have the faith to let Him; the person of faith will live in a way that he leaves an inheritance to his children's children, as Abraham did; and we see the end of the faith-life, joy unspeakable and full of glory, lastly, let us not how the Son of promise continued on:

IV. Blessed in Beer-Lahai-Roi (Gen. 25:11)

Genesis 25:11 KJV 1900
And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.

A. God's Blessing on the Son of Promise (Gen. 25:11a):

B. The Son Dwelling Where “God Sees” (Gen. 25:11b):

Application:
Even though faithful believers die, the program of God to bless the world continues (7–11).
No one is indispensable in God’s program. Good people die, and others take up the task to continue God’s program.
Abraham died at the age of 175 and was gathered to his people (i.e., he left the land of the living). His sons united to bury him in the cave of Machpelah, just as Jacob and Esau would do for Isaac, and the patriarchs for Jacob. Death seems to remain the most sobering element in the human struggle for the blessing of God. But the work of God to bless the world continues from generation to generation, as the report about Isaac indicates (v. 11).
This final verse reports two significant things about Isaac. First, God blessed him. This statement must be connected to the initial promise of blessing in Genesis 12:1–3 and then traced through the narratives. The blessing was passed on to Isaac; the God of Abraham was to be the God of Isaac as well. Second, the verse also reports that Isaac dwelt near Beer Lahai Roi. God had heard Hagar here and delivered her. And here Isaac had come to meditate when he awaited Rebekah. In the next section of the book Isaac prays here for his barren wife. Isaac thus dwelt in a place where prayer was effectual, where God could be found—and God blessed him.
The passage as a whole shows that, by sending away all the other sons, Abraham by faith provided for the transference of the blessing to Isaac. Abraham would be gone, but God’s program would continue through Isaac. No leader of the covenant is indispensable, for God’s program to bless the world will continue to grow and expand from generation to generation. God’s servants must do all they can to ensure that God’s program of blessing continues from generation to generation without interruption. [Ross, 426–427.]

Conclusion

George McCluskey
You’ve probably never heard of George McCluskey. To my knowledge, no biographies have been written about his life. McCluskey was a man who decided to make a shrewd investment. As he married and started a family, he decided to invest one hour a day in prayer. He was concerned that his kids might follow Christ and establish their own homes where Christ was honored. After a time, he decided to expand his prayers to include not only his children, but their children and the children after them. Every day between 11 A.M. and noon, he would pray for the next three generations.
As the years went by, his two daughters committed their lives to Christ and married men who went into full time ministry. The two couples produced four girls and one boy. Each of the girls married a minister and the boy became a pastor. The first two children born to this generation were both boys. Upon graduation from high school, the two cousins chose the same college and became roommates. During their sophomore year, one of the boys decided to go into the ministry as well. The other one didn’t. He knew the family history and undoubtedly felt some pressure to continue the family legacy by going into the ministry himself, but he chose not to. In a manner of speaking this young man became the black sheep of the family. He was the first one in four generations not to go into full-time Christian ministry. He decided to pursue his interest in psychology and over the years, met with success. After earning his doctorate, he wrote a book to parents that became a best-seller. He then wrote another and another, all best-sellers. Eventually he started a radio program that is now heard on more than a thousand stations each day. The black sheep’s name? James Dobson, without a doubt the most influential and significant leader of the pro-family movement in America. His ministry is the direct result of the prayers of a man who lived four generations ago. [Steve Farrar, Point Man, p. 154]
God Wants You To:
God’s servants must do all they can to ensure that God’s program of blessing continues from generation to generation without interruption. [Ross]
Orthopraxy - Lord God, as I look back on the stories of Your patience, guidance and many deliverances of Your people, and as I consider the similar story of Your works and ways in my life, I realize that You have put me in a position of great privilege and perspective. You have given me the opportunity to consider and learn from Your many interactions in human history, and You have also given me a personal history of Your many gracious dealings in my own journey. I pray that I would not squander these great gifts, but that I would impart what You have taught me to others so that I would invest in their lives and pass this on to the next generation. I do not want to waste the many blessings You have given me by keeping them to myself. May I pass them on so that Your gracious work in me would be a blessing to others. [Kenneth Boa and John Alan Turner, The 52 Greatest Stories of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2008), 74.]
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