Genesis 25:1-11: Gathered to his people.

“Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah. Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. 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. 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. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites.[a] There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.” NIV UK

After a great loss, although the pain is keenly felt, life does not have to come to an end. We have already seen how, following the death of Sarah, there was a new chapter in Abraham’s story, and we can see something more of that in today’s passage. There is also the further comment that: ‘’After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac…’’ (11). A bereavement – especially of a close family member – is likely to leave a deep imprint on you. But it doesn’t have to be the end of your life. It certainly doesn’t dry up the flow of God’s blessing.

But in life, we, being mortal, not only love and lose; we ourselves have to die. Although Abraham lived a long, long time, death eventually came knocking on his door. I love the line which says ‘’and he was gathered to his people’’ (8b). That phrase may mean nothing more than that he was laid with other dead relatives in the same cemetery. But I instinctively feel it means more. As believers, we have the confidence that we will see God after we have died. That is the greatest blessing to anticipate. However, we also carry in our hearts, the joyful prospect of meeting fellow-believers again, and enjoying their company – just as the disciples came to recognise Jesus and shared fellowship with Him again after His resurrection. As the hymn-writer rightly expressed: ‘What a gathering!’

PRAYER: Thank you so much Lord Jesus, you who are the Resurrection and the life, for the wonderful hope we have in you.