Photo by James Bellwood
Abraham gave everything he owned to Isaac. And Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines, but while he was sill alive he sent them eastward, away from his son Isaac, to the land of the East” (Gen. 25:5-6).
Isaac was the promised heir from Abraham’s own body (Gen. 15). While Abraham blessed the sons of his concubines, everything he owned went to *his son* Isaac. Abraham sent the sons of his concubines to the east, away from his son and heir.
Isaac prefigures the Son to whom God the Father gives everything (Gal. 3:16):
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands” (John 3:35).
“Everything I have is Yours, and everything You have is Mine” (John 17:10).
“In these last days, He has spoken to us in His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things….” (Heb. 1:2).
Jesus has all the Father has; He is all the Father is. God gives Him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). The Son has life in Himself just as the Father does (John 5:26). The many things scripture grants Christ merely scratch the surface of His all-encompassing possession from God.
Back to the east. Why does scripture look at it askance? There are many possible explanations. But in the context before us, it is enough to say the east is away from the Son. Genesis makes a point of saying Abraham sent the sons of his concubines away from his son Isaac. The measure wasn’t that they were sent away from Abraham. It wasn’t how far they were sent that mattered. Their location was defined relative to Isaac, *his* son. This wasn’t the first time. Years earlier, Abraham sent Ishmael away from Isaac (Gen. 21:10-14).
Spiritually, the east is away from Jesus, the Son. It is away from the divine fullness given in Him. It is away from the heir of God’s everything.
Here, the warning in Hebrews 2 applies: “We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away” (Heb. 2:1). If we drift away from the Son, it doesn’t much matter what we drift to. Hebrews says prophets, angels, the law, and religious traditions of God can all be away from the Son. These things are not evil. But they are not the Son and are therefore “away.”
But anyone in Christ is not away from the Son. They share the Father’s fullness in Him:
“[W]e are God’s children, and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and coheirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17).
“He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?” (Rom. 8:32).
“We have also received an inheritance in Him….” (Eph. 1:11).
It is easy for the deprivation of this world to affect our souls; we are not necessarily wise, powerful, or privileged (1 Cor. 1:26). We live for God’s will, not to grasp after status or achievement (1 Peter 4:1-3; 1 John 2:15-17). And despite our decision to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, we can mourn what we’ve walked away from.
Here is where we must recognize the Father has given Jesus everything, and we share in that everything. The flesh judges by its own terms and finds satisfaction in what it can handle, taste, and touch (Col. 2:20-22). Yet the inner man is starved by what the flesh revels in. When the flesh is gratified an aching hunger remains within. Only Jesus–and the Father’s everything in Him–can satisfy the depths of being. This is no abstract, pie in the sky satisfaction; it’s not something for the “sweet by and by.” The fullness of God dwells in Jesus, and Jesus dwells *within* us (Col. 2:9-10). We are not merely “concubine’s” sons who receive divine gifts from time to time. We are one with the Son to whom God has given everything, and we participate in the divine everything (2 Peter 1:4).
Our possession in Christ cures the need to get what we can out of life. If we mourn our losses in this world, we can more deeply know Christ and God’s everything in Him. His life in us satiates beyond needing again (John 6:35). Hallelujah!
Lord, I look for satisfaction in the things of the world. Though I’ve chosen you, I mourn what I’ve given up. Let me know Jesus in my innermost being. Let me know every good thing of Christ’s glory within (Phm. 6). Satisfy me with God’s everything in Christ. Show me that deprivation is just the blindness of the prodigal’s older brother–the son who thought he was slaving away; who couldn’t appreciate that everything the father had was his (Luke 15:29-31).