Gathered To His People
A daily devotion for June 30th
1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Asshurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. 6 But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.
7 Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.
Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people (Genesis 25: 7-8).
If you and I had been with Abraham at the moments of decision in his life, we might often have pitied him: When he left Ur, we might have said,
Abraham, you poor fool, do you mean you are going to wander out there in the desert and perhaps live in a tent the rest your life, when you could have the enjoyment of the city and all of its blessings?
When he allowed Lot to choose the best of the land, perhaps some of us might have thought,
Abraham, don't throw away your rights like that! You are the older one. You have the right to choose. Why let Lot take that choice piece while you are left with this dry old pasture? You are throwing away your rights. Abraham let Lot choose, and God chose for him.
And do you remember when the king of Sodom offered all the riches of his city to him, Abraham said,
I'll not take even one of your shoelaces; I don't want any of it. Some of us would have been tempted to say,
Now wait, Abraham, you are carrying this a little too far. You could have deducted this from your income tax, and just think what you are missing. You could have all the riches of Sodom. Think how you could use it in the Lord's work.
But Abraham chose God every time, and his was a life of fullness. He lived 175 years, and every one was packed full, spiced with excitement and adventure, filled with challenge and interest, rich in faith and blessing. He died an old man, full of days. There is the promise of a full life to those who live in the Spirit.
In verse 8 there is an indication that our pattern man of faith had divine fellowship; he
was gathered to his people. What does that mean? It means that he was gathered to those before him who had exercised faith in God. He was with those righteous ones who all through that intervening time of history had been walking with God. Enoch and Noah were examples of such men who learned to know the living God. Those are Abraham's people, just as the people who are ours are not the fleshly people, but the ones to whom we are spiritually bound.
By no means did his life end four thousand years ago. In Matthew, when the Sadducees—who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead—asked Jesus a question, He answered them:
Have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:31b-32). By this He was answering those who did not believe in life after death. He was saying that Abraham is living.
What a picture Abraham's life is! His was a life like yours and mine! There was nothing unusual about him; nevertheless, God made him an extraordinary person whose life reaches far beyond the realms of earth, out into eternity. His life is one of blessing, fellowship, and fullness. Abraham stands as a living testimony to anyone who takes the path of faith and walks this way. In so doing, we will find the same blessing.
Father, what a blessing the life of Abraham has been to me. May I imitate his faith until the day that I too, am gathered to my fathers.
Life Application: To live well is to end well. Are we daily making choices consistent with the Grand Adventure to which we are called when we are Christ's disciples?
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Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.