In our study of Genesis chapter twenty five, we look at God's fulfilled promises to Abraham. We will see how they were fulfilled in both the physical and spiritual realms.
"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." NIV translation
After Sarah died, Abraham took another wife named Keturah. We see that they had several sons and grandsons. This was a continued physical fulfillment of the promise that God had made to make Abraham the father of many nations (see Genesis 17).
"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." NIV translation
Although the children from the concubines were a part of the physical fulfillment of the promise, they were not the heirs of the spiritual promise.
So, Abraham gave them gifts and sent them away. This was so that there would not be any doubt about who the chosen heir was.
"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 Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. After Abraham's death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi." NIV translation
It is interesting to note that Ishmael returned from Arabia to help in the burial of Abraham. It is also a reminder of the battle that goes on between the physical and the spiritual. Although Ishmael was older, he is listed after Isaac who was the fulfillment of the spiritual promise.