Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.
Genesis 25:5-6 ESV
I know. Unusual scripture to highlight, right? Well, sometimes it’s those obscure verses the Holy Spirit uses to speak the loudest to our hearts.
At first glance the beginning of Genesis 25 appears to be the typical “begat” section in which we as readers learn who gave birth to whom. I admit, it is easy to get lost in long lists of begats. Yet as I read the list of those children born to Abraham by Keturah, verses five and six struck a cord.
Isaac was the promised one. He is the one God commissioned as Abraham’s heir. So as the days of Abraham’s life came to a close, Abraham sent all the other sons away from him.
Could you imagine what those sons must have been thinking? Their father was sending them away. Their own father! And Why? Because they weren’t “the chosen one.” As the unfavored, they were sent away. Sure, Abraham sent them away with gifts, but what were mere gifts when Isaac was getting the throne?
On a human level, that just doesn’t seem fair. I’m sure it must have hurt. I wonder if the sting of rejection also traveled with those sons as they headed east. If we think about it, Abraham had chosen Keturah. He had known what he was doing when he married her and when he lay with her. I’m sure he knew she’d most likely conceive. I’m sure he knew the day would come he’d have to tell his other children, “Isaac gets it all.” But he did it anyway, and then he sent them away.
Now I’m not saying Abraham was right or wrong in the choices he made, for only God knows his heart and his motives. But what I am saying is even when we are seemingly forgotten and rejected by man, we are never forgotten and rejected by God. If we pay attention to the scripture, we will see that even though God established a covenant with Abraham and Isaac, He still had a plan for the sons of Keturah (and Hagar) as well. The generations birthed through Hagar and Keturah were always a part of God’s plan and God’s promise to Abraham, whether or not man saw it.
Read below two portions of scripture from Genesis:
I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.
Genesis 13:16 ESV
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
Genesis 17:4-5 ESV
God told Abraham he’d be the father of many nations. Many, not just one. One son didn’t make the dust of the earth; multiple sons did. Those children born to Hagar and Keturah were also part of God’s plan. Ishmael became a nation as God had told Abraham (“And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring” Genesis 21:13 ESV). We know Midian, the son of Keturah, became father to the Midianites. And do you know who was a Midianite? Jethro, Moses’ Father-in-law.
Sure, the nations birthed through Abraham’s other sons did not always get along with the descendents of Isaac, but God still used them. They were still a part of God’s plan.
And this is what I want you to remember today: you are not a mistake. God has a plan, and you are part of it. No matter how people treat you, no matter how insignificant and underappreciated you may feel at the moment, God has a purpose for you. You weren’t an afterthought; you were foreknown. Before the foundation of the earth God knew you. Though father and mother forsake you, God never will (Psalm 27:10). Though some may say you were never meant to be, God says He formed you before you were ever conceived–that He knew every day of your life before you were ever born (Psalm 139).
God knows you, my friend. And God loves you. You are not a mistake because God doesn’t make mistakes. So go forth today with confidence knowing the one who fashioned you loves you and has plans for you–plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).