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).]
God’s servants must do all they can to ensure that God’s program of blessing continues from generation to generation without interruption.
This passage serves as a good summary to the story and life of Abraham.
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.
A. Abraham Remarries (Gen.
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.
Abraham begets the Ancestors of several Arab Nations, thus fulfilling the promise that he would be the father of many nations.
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.
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:
To the Children's Children (Gen.
A. Abraham Gave the Family Inheritance to Isaac (Gen.
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.
B. Abraham Gave Gifts to His Sons and Sent them Away (Gen.
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).]
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.
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:
Into a Good Old Age (Gen.
A. Abraham Died in Peace (Gen.
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);
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.