We have been following again in our daily readings the very interesting and instructive events of the life and wanderings of Jacob. We are told that God has caused these things to be re-corded that we may receive instruction, comfort and hope.

The first lesson we learn is that-in the lives of the people of God-nothing happens by chance. All is arranged in God's wise purpose for the development of His children, and His hand is ever present to control and direct. *

The reading of God's Word is the most important activity of our lives. It should be the most looked-forward to and enjoyable. Each day as we begin we should meditate upon the solemn and wonderful fact that this Book - alone of all books ever written - has been composed by God Himself, for the express purpose of saving man from death and making him

"wise unto salvation."

Each word is there because God specifically caused it to be there.

And the pleasure and impressiveness of reading these daily portions of Divine authorship are increased by the realization that, throughout the world, faithful and earnest brethren and sisters are reading and thinking upon these very same incidents, day by day. It is an intimate, worldwide communion of minds in the glorious deep things of the Spirit of God, of which the natural man, like the beasts of the field, knows nothing.

1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

The Chronicles account refers to Keturah as Abraham' s concubine, but after Sarah's death he has married her and took her to wife. She bares 6 sons. Prominent is Midian, whose daughters corrupted Israel on the threshold of the Kingdom, in the Apostasy of Baal Peor (Nu. 25. 3), ... and grandsons by Jokshan - Sheba and Dedan. **

2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

Sheba and Dedan's descendants seem to have co-mingled with the Arab nations (sons of Ishmael), but occupying peripheral regions of the Arabian peninsula. The Queen of Sheba visited Solomon (l Kgs 11), and this seems to typify Queen Elizabeth doing homage to Christ, which cannot be far away (Pslm 72.10, 11). The Iatter day Sheba and Dedan are in alligance with Tarshish at the great war of Armageddon (Ezk. 38.13, Rev.16.16). **

4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

Keturah and her sons

In every age the social habits and practices of the day are accepted by the saints as normal, although they may be far removed from what Almighty God may count as good and reckon as right. In our own age there are many habits and customs that we take for granted, but which bear no resemblance to Biblical practice, either patriarchal or apostolic. We justify them, not because they are Biblical but because they are ubiquitous. And Almighty God in turn makes use of all the circumstances of our lives whether right or wrong to teach us His ways.

The patriarch likewise lived his life within the customs of his day. Children were a blessing because they brought the promise of future care. When a father and mother grew old, their children would protect and nourish them. Strong sons would manage the fields and flocks of the family, industrious daughters would provide for their parents, and a couple would pass their later years within the circle of the family bond. Abram had but a short time to father sons before his natural powers waned.

These very years marked the end of his opportunity to build branches on his tree. They were not wasted. For soon the shouts and cries of several sturdy lads resounded among the family tents. But none of these younger siblings of Ishmael were sons of Sarai. They were the sons of Abram and Keturah. 25

Keturah would never cause the trials that Hagar had brought. She was a faithful concubine and contented with her lot. She bore Abram a succession of sons until his quiver was full. She did not seek to move beyond her place, and did not claim a special right for all her little men. 26

She lived within the security of the encampment of the man known as the "Friend of God", and had the happiness of living within a household that worshipped God and walked in His ways. In this respect her lot was blessed. She experienced the support and affection of Abram, and knew him to be a man of integrity and honour.

And of all households in the land of Canaan this was the best, the very best to belong to, for it brought both Keturah and her sons into contact with the hope of salvation, a priceless gift that Abram gladly shared with all his family. 27

But these boys, together with Ishmael, were the sons of the other women in Abram's life. The story of the concubines was related to the customs of the day, but by the time the story was complete, it had exacted a toll on all the family. Any practice that is a departure from the divine standard will bring the consequence of unexpected trial. This matter was no different.

Abram and Sarai would know pain in their marriage because of this. But as with all trial, the spirit and response of God's servants will fundamentally affect the outcome. In the case of this couple it drew them closer, because their lives were truly devoted to the Lord whom they served. A different spirit, however, would have produced a different outcome. The doctrine of free will and the law of consequences are a perpetual cycle in the life of faith.

For a choice once made brings its own inevitable consequence, but with It also comes the opportunity to exercise our free will yet again, in choosing how to respond. By such means our faith is matured and our wisdom increased. We all journey in Abram and Sarai's footsteps. Seven sons were thus born to Abram during this epoch in his life, and not one of them was the child of the promise.

That son, the promised seed, was still to come. And when the promised seed finally came, he would be the eighth, and there would truly be a new beginning in the patriarch's life. For this last and special child would be the son of Sarai, the woman of his love, his true and only wife. Almighty God would see to it, and sooner now than either of them realised.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Heirs Together Ch 3

5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an 175 years.

8 Then 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.

Mortality and the law of sin and death claiming him, marking a turning point of God's unfolding plan **

9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

His death united Isaac and Ishmael for the last time. Abraham's resurrection will eventually unite Israel and Arab again in fellowship around the glory and power of the Lord Jesus Christ manifest in Jerusalem and spreading outwards across Arabia and to the isles that wait for him. The sons of strangers shall help build the walls of the New Jerusalem Temple (Is.60.6,7, 10, Pslm 72.9). **

10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that Elohim blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.

12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

Ishmael is father of the Arab nations.

Ismael is a wild man - 'his hand against every man' (Gen. 16.12) has brought ceaseless bloodshedding across the Middle east and jihadism.

History has proved the truth of this character portrayal (Rev.9). The Fifth Trumpet still sounds, and reverberates across the planet shaking the nations, and threatening Israel, regathered, with annihilation. There were 12 sons who became 12 princes and spread across the Arabian peninsula (v.18).**

17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an 137 years: and he gave up the spirit and died; and was gathered unto his people.

18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac:

20 And Isaac was 40 years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

21 And Isaac intreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren: and Yahweh was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of Yahweh.

There was conflict between the two babes even in the womb

23 And the Yahweh said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Obadiah shows the perpetual enmity between Jacob and Esau, shown to be typical of the anti-semitic heathen, but vengeance comes from the house of Jacob (the saints) in the last days.

'And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Jacob a flame, and the house of Esau for Stubble'.

The enmity can be seen all the way through (Gen. 27.41-42), and comes into focus when Esau Comes to meet Jacob with 400 armed men (Gen.32). **

24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was 60 years old when she bare them.

Esau was the firtsborn, red and a hairy fleshly man dominated by his lusts. Jacob grabs his heel, showing his tendency, reflected in the name Jacob. Esau became a cunning hunter and Jacob, a plain man dwelling in tents.

Their characters, sketched in a few words, could not be more different. Esau delighting in the chase, and the kill. Jacob a shepherd dwelling close to home. Isaac loved Esau because of the venison he brought his father. This was all on the flesh, a physically powerful son impressive. Rebekah loved Jacob, a spiritual man **

**Bro Richard Lister

The Apocalyptic Messenger, August 2016

27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Many questions arise in our minds. Some we cannot answer. But we should remember that in all these things the basic purpose is not to satisfy our curiosity, but to give us guidance that will help us to order our own lives in a way that will please God.

We may wonder why the faithful patriarch Isaac appears so out of step with the Divine purpose as to attempt to give the blessing to Esau. We read -

"Isaac loved Esau... but Rebekah loved Jacob"

(Gen. 25:28).

We know that before the birth of Esau and Jacob, Rebekah enquired of God and was told the elder should serve the younger. But-did Isaac know? Or did she

"keep these things in her heart?"

As we look back and survey the whole broad sweep of Israel's history, Jacob stands out so clearly and unmistakable as the chosen seed that we are apt to assume that the distinction

must have been obvious from the first, and that Isaac should never have considered for a moment giving the principal blessing to Esau.

But in view of Isaac's life, and his especial mention as one of the great examples of faith, we should hesitate to attribute to him a complete disregard of God's expressed will. True, it is sadly evident in this whole incident that there is something wrong, and it would appear that all concerned in it had lessons to learn. We must remember that there was no Bible to turn to then.

To a large extent these early patriarchs must work out in their own lives, for their sakes and ours, the lessons that are now left so plainly on record for our guidance. We see Isaac-misguided and overly influenced by the robust, worldly qualities of Esau. It is true, however, that Isaac grieved because of Esau's alien wives. He would realize how vital it was that the people of God be preserved from the destroying influences of alien marriage.

Abraham, in choosing Isaac's own wife, had strongly impressed him with this basic scriptural principle. We see Esau - whom the Scriptures described as a "profane

person"-a worldly, animal, unspiritual man to whom the present appeal of a tempting hot meal was stronger than his perception of a Divine birthright. Doubtless Isaac hoped and prayed that Esau, his eldest son and heir, would awaken to the great responsibility of carrying on the purpose of God.

It is possible that, superficial and naturally, Esau appeared to be-at this stage of their development-a warmer and more intense character than Jacob. But Esau was not a man of faith-and the pillars of God's eternal house must, above all things, be men of faith.

We see Rebekah--with her Divinely-imparted knowledge that Jacob, the younger, was the chosen seed. But Rebekah did not seem to realize that God's plan of the ages is too great and too holy to be built upon deceit and falsehood, however well meant.

Rebekah must learn that God's way is not man's way-that man's concern and duty is to glorify God by a strict adherence to His righteous, upright principles of truth, and humbly and trustingly leave the consequences to Him.

In the final view, we have but one concern in life-to please God. We do not have to do great things, nor assume an anxious personal responsibility for preventing the failure of God's plan. Our ability is very limited, even at best. Our circle is very small.

Bro Growcott - A New Name

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

The boys grew to be men.

"Esau was an expert hunter, and a man of the field."

The result of these pursuits was to surround himself with warriors, whose power grew into the future kingdom of Edom. When he was ninety-one years old, he was able to march with four hundred men against Jacob, then on his return from Mesopotamia. But Jacob was of a more peaceful disposition.

'"He was a plain man, dwelling in tents."'

While they sojourned with their father, Esau was Isaac's favourite; and Jacob, his mother's. One day while Jacob was preparing a pottage of red lentiles, Esau came in from hunting very much overcome with fatigue. He requested Jacob to let him partake of the red lentiles. But Jacob was not disposed to part with it without a consideration.

Esau was the elder, and according to the custom of primogeniture, was entitled to certain privileges, termed birthright. Now, Jacob, whose name signifies "supplanter," wished to supplant him in this right, that he might afterwards be entitled to the precedence over Esau, which God had indicated in saying,

"The elder shall serve the younger."

Therefore before he consented to Esau's request, he said, 

"Sell me this day thy birthright."

Esau reflected on the demand a little; at length he said,

 "Behold, I am at the point to die; what profit shall this birthright do to me?" 

"Swear then," said Jacob, "to me this day: and he sware unto him: and sold his birthright to Jacob. Jacob then gave him the red pottage. From this time Esau acquired the surname of Edom, which signifies red; and commemorates the fact that

"Esau despised his birthright" (Gen. 25:27-34)

The apostle cites the case of Esau as a warning to believers lest any of them should

"fail of the grace of God."

All who are Abraham's seed by being in Christ have obtained the birth right; and are thereby entitled to the blessing of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that hereafter

"people should serve them, and nations bow down to them; and that they should be lords over their brethren."

But, if for some temporal advantage they should "sin wilfully," and thus barter it away,

"there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. 10:26-27).

There is no scope afforded to such for repentance; for they have placed themselves precisely in Esau's position. Hence, the apostle exhorted his brethren to look diligently to it, that none of them proved to be

"a profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright: "

for, said he,

"ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no possibility of a change of (Isaac's) mind though he sought it carefully with tears"

 (Heb. 12:15-17).

God is merciful; but He is also jealous; and "will by no means clear the wilful." If His children sell their birthright to the world for anything it can tempt them with, His mind, like Isaac's, is immovable; and transgressors cannot change it, though they may seek carefully to do so with tears, and prayers, and with great and exceeding bitter cries.

Elpis Israel 2.3.

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Esau despised his birthright.

He despised it not merely because he bargained it away, but in the manner in which he did so. The birthright seemed to him of little value. He lacked spiritual vision and was absorbed with the present. The temporary satisfaction of his appetite weighed more heavily with him than a future inheritance; and so "he went on his way".

Notice that no other crime nor great fault is laid against Esau than the fact that he "despised his birthright". In short, there is no greater sin than this! The person who treats the Truth lightly is "profane" (Heb. 12:16) and in the same position as Esau. He despises that for which Christ died.

...there is an attractiveness about Esau's character that is deceptive. He was an impulsive, thoughtless man rather than a bad one: his great sin, being his indifference towards the things of God.

Bro HP Mansfield - The Christadelphian Expositor