Day 107: Record vs. Story

Genesis 25:1-11

Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan became the father of Sheba, and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, but to the sons of Abraham’s concubines, Abraham gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country. These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred seventy-five years. Abraham gave up the spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, 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 children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife. It happened after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived by Beer Lahai Roi.

I was very blessed to have had Christian parents that took me to Church as a boy and one of the assignments that I had was to read Genesis. I thought that it was quite a chore at the time, but I had no idea how important that this would be to my whole life. One of the things I remembered about this time was how strange it seemed that it talked about things like polygamy without saying that it was wrong or bad. I already knew that other books of the Bible said this but I didn’t get why Genesis would just seem to gloss over it.

Now I see, with a more mature mind, that God didn’t gloss over anything! I also see that Genesis is a very honest book. It doesn’t try to hide the dirty details but puts everything under the exposure of truth. The cool thing about a book like the Bible is that you can actually follow the people groups through history, even up to the present in some situations. In the cases of polygamy, we often see that things didn’t work out in the end. This is the case for some of Abraham’s children too. The Bible may be saying that Keturah was a wife that Abraham took after Sarah died, but I am not sure. He would have been well over 100 at that time.

As I have said before, God loves everyone He has chosen to give life. He loves each one even if their parents made bad choices, but we see that he does not honor polygamy here. If you look at Genesis as a historic record instead of a moral story, you are forced to pay attention to the actions of God as recorded and how they relate to the actions of men. God always acts appropriately, and men occasionally act appropriately. God should be our moral focus, not Abraham or Isaac. Although they do some very good things, they also do some very bad things that are recorded in Genesis and polygamy is not honored by God in the record but actually becomes a problem.

It was interesting to me to notice that Isaac and Ishmael buried their father together. I think that Isaac is a type of Jesus and He appears to have had a way with bringing people together. It is good to see when the two families get along and I look forward to the day when Jesus brings the whole world together in the future.