a. A promise fulfilled. For us to see the importance of this account of the descendants of Ishmael we have to go back in time. In chapter 16, we read of the Sarah and Hagar battle. Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham as a concubine to give her a child. Hagar conceives and lords it over Sarah. Sarah gets angry and tells Abraham to kick Hagar out. Abraham says do whatever you want. Sarah kicks Hagar out. God comes to Hagar in the wilderness and promises Hagar that her offspring would multiply so that they could not be numbered. Fast forward to chapter 17 where God tells Abraham that Sarah would have a son and that son was the one that God chose to fulfill the promise. Abraham says, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God says no but says, “I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly…He shall father twelve princes and I will make him into a great nation.” Now, back to our passage today, we see Moses recording the fact that indeed, the blessing and promise of God for Ishmael did come true. The promise God made to Abraham concerning this son was fulfilled. Here are the names of the twelve princes. b. A division realized. Now flip back to chapter 16 again. Besides, being blessed with many descendants, what does the Lord say concerning who Ishmael would be? “He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” And so back to chapter 25 verse 18, we see a description of where the family of Ishmael lived and then it says, “He settled over against all his kinsmen.” It happened just as God said. Ishmael and his descendants would be separate from Isaac and Keturah’s children. He would be a source of trouble for Isaac’s kids throughout the generations. God had chosen Isaac not Ishmael or Keturah’s children to be the recipient of the covenant of promise. God chose to divide to separate Isaac from his relatives just as he chose the same for Abraham. This text shows that the separation was real and continued. c. A blessing given. Isn’t it interesting, that though Ishmael was blessed by God, that blessing didn’t change him? This is the difference between what we call common grace and saving grace. Common grace is given to all people. As Jesus said the Father, “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Ishmael received some special common grace, but it was not saving grace. He remained a wild donkey of a man. The blessing of 12 princes did not lead to the changing of his soul. James Smith once said, “a sinner out of Hell — can never have any reason to complain. Everything short of Hell is mercy!” I was thinking what is also true is that everything that you have that’s not Hell is grace.