Pastor Troy Martin
Text: Genesis 23:1-20
A Tomb For Sarah
How people think about, talk of, and treat the dead ultimately begins to shape them, and the people around them. In today’s narrative, Abraham, the father of faith, must deal with the death of his wife. His decision not only marks the first recorded entombment in the Bible (with Jesus’ being the last); but also sets a pattern that all believers have held from then until today. Read the Bible long enough and one comes to every important issue. Today we’ve come to the topic of burial.
v. 1-3 Sarah dies and Abraham grieves the loss. Solomon reminds us that a life lived wisely makes time to rejoice. But it also will make time to grieve Ec 3:4.
v. 4 Abraham decides to make a tomb for Sarah. He 11 tells us that his words and actions were a confession of his faith in the resurrection and the better Canaan.
v. 5-12 While the residents of Canaan offer to give Abraham a tomb, it is important to him to own the tomb. Sarah will be buried in the first bit of fulfilled promise.
v.13-16 Abraham, as an immigrant, doesn’t have a right to own land. But Ephron offers him the land at a hefty price. Abraham is willing to pay, quite literally, any price.
v. 17-20 The acquisition is complete. Machpelah becomes the first plot of fulfilled promise. Much more will follow. Like Jesus, the inheritance begins from the grave.
After reading today’s narrative, the question presents itself - is Ge 23 a example for us to follow? This might be a mere description of faith, and not a model for faith, except for the fact that what Abraham does is done throughout the Bible, and for 2000 years, since the closing of the canon.
Consider then, how we….
treat the dead shows_____________________. No matter the culture or civilization, at death our world- view steps into the light. This might well demonstrate that the West is changing the value it places on life.
talk about the dead shapes________________. Note that Paul tends to use the language of “death” for Jesus and baptism; but when he speaks of cadavers, he uses the word “sleep.” 1 Th 4:13, 1 Co 15:20, 1 Co 11:29. Paul's words effect Christian theology and practice even today.
treat our dead is ________________________. From Abraham to Jesus to Eusebius, to Augustine, to Charlemagne, to Chesterton; there are nearly 4000 years of testimony to resurrection faith at funerals.
Questions for Household Growth
Why is grief important when someone dies? How should we not grieve? 1 Th 14:3
What is Gnosticism?
Who does your body belong to? 1 Co 6:19-20