Genesis 25:12-18 In Christ, parents no longer have to choose from among their children who they will bless

Genesis 25:12-18  In Christ, parents no longer have to choose from among their children who they will bless

Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham; 13 and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam 14 and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, 15 Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his relatives. Genesis 25:12-18

Background 

In this section, the family tree of the Ishmael, the non-elect is described and concluded before the chosen line, Isaac is described. Ishmael, the first son of Abraham is significant in his own right in that it shows the fulfilment of the promises given earlier to Abraham: As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. Genesis 17:20. Thus, Abraham is forced to choose one child over the other as heir of the promise. However, in Christ, parents no longer have to choose from among their children whom he will bless. For all who believe are made heirs of the promise. Hence, the most precious gift parents can give to their children is the legacy of faith demonstrated through the way they live.

Observation

Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham.

The list details the names of Ishmael’s 12 sons. And the fact that many of the Arab tribes can be traced back to them suggests that the Ishmaelites are once a confederation of tribes just like the Israelites who descended from Jacob’s 12 sons. Nevertheless, Ishmael, like Cain, Ham and Esau are non-elects and their descendants quickly retreat into oblivion giving place to the chosen line as God’s salvation plan unfolds. Jacob’s 12 sons, as we know it eventually becomes a sovereign nation which foreshadows the coming of God’s eternal kingdom.

Truth

The earthly-minded blooms and quickly fades away but the heavenly-minded lives forever.

The 12 tribes of Ishmael in the lens of divine history offers little contribution to humanity as compared to the 12 tribes of Jacob who foreshadow the children of faith. Ishmael represents the category of the earthly-minded whose life purpose is to flourish and enjoy what life on earth has to offer. They are focused on building their earthly security and living life as if there is no eternity. Some can be very charitable, they look out for the marginalised and help them as best as they could. However, such are still considered as earthly-minded because they refuse to acknowledge their Creator or embrace His eternal purpose for them. Religions to some degree do offer hope beyond life on earth, but their followers remain bound to a set of religious rules without reprieve from hopelessness and sin’s bondage. What then does Christianity offer? The trouble is: the heart does not always follow what religion teaches, it seeks to glean divine privileges while reducing religion to a set of practices or knowledge. The fact remains that many churchgoers continue to seek salvation and divine favour, but without commitment to Christ-likeness. The cross is simply a means of escape from the terror of hell. Such are often trapped in guilt, their hearts condemning and driving them every so often to the foot of the cross, but never the way of the cross.

The heavenly minded on the other hand desire the treasures of heaven choosing to forego their earthly privileges to do God’s will. They are unaccustomed to driving posh cars or live in opulent apartments, choosing instead to travel light. Such derive their joy and significance from obedience to the truth. And the Holy Spirit bears witness to their spirit concerning God’s forgiveness, approval and favour. The heavenly-minded enjoy perpetual peace, love and assurance of a glorious entrance into the eternal kingdom when Christ returns.

In Christ, parents no longer have to choose from among their children who they will bless

Abraham has only one blessing in which he is forced to choose from among his children and so does Isaac. Because of the curse of the Law, no father has control over who God may bless and inherit the promise. However, Christ has removed the curse from humanity which releases all fathers and mothers to bless his/her sons and daughters. How can a father/mother bless their children? By showing them the way of Christ and the cross through their manner of living. As children observe their father and mother, they begin to take on their parents’ characteristics. Therefore, the most precious gift parents can give to their children is the legacy of faith demonstrated through the way they live. Heavenly-mindedness is not acquired through knowledge or discipline alone, but through emulation and impartation of grace.

Application

Therefore, seek to be heavenly-minded which has eternal benefits not only for you but also for your children and your community. The heavenly life is characterised by the following:

  • Peace. His mind is not preoccupied with matters concerning finances, career or problems that he cannot solve.
  • Fulfilment. His source of fulfilment is the approval of God as opposed to achievements or material possessions.
  • Goal. He is single-minded to pursuing God’s calling and to help establish justice, mercy and godliness in the local community and abroad.
  • Mind-set. He constantly fills his mind with the truth by meditating on the word.

Perhaps, you need to rediscover what heavenly-mindedness is about by letting God’s word be the sole authority of your life. Set your mind to know God by taking to heart every word of the bible. God will restore the joy of salvation and realign your purpose according to His plan. And your children will be the blessed of God. The psalmist says,

1 Praise the Lord!
How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever. Psalms 112:1-3

Dear Lord, I desire to set my mind on heavenly things that are eternal and I release my earthly anxieties and insecurities. As I put my trust in you, direct my focus towards your kingdom’s work while I await your providence. Give me the Spirit of understanding as I endeavour to know you through the word. Bless me and my family as children of faith and heirs of the promise. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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