The last time we were in the book of Genesis went through the events surrounding God’s test of Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham passed the test, Isaac didn’t have to die, and they both came down from that mountain having grown in their faith.
Soon after this word came to Abraham about his relatives back in his homeland.
[Read Genesis 22:19-24.]
So Abraham now knows about his brother and his kids. This information will become important to Abraham in the coming years when looking he’ll be looking for a bride for his son Isaac. And 15 – 20 years later something happens to provoke Abraham into action – his bride Sarah passes away.
But before we get to that we need to understand something. The next few chapters in the book of Genesis are all about transition and God’s faithfulness through the coming change. Abraham and Sarah couldn’t run the show forever. Their descendants would inevitably take over the leadership of the family and the coming nation. So when we read through these passages let’s understand that change is coming to the landscape – but God faithfully orchestrates things so the outcome of the covenant stays the same.
We’re going to go through chapters 23 and 24 tonight so hold on to your boot straps. In these chapters we see three generations of people:
- Abraham and Sarah, 137 and 127 years old
- Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, 85 years old
- Isaac, 40 years old
Three generations of faithful people, following their faithful God during these years of
I. The beginning of the end of a generation
[Read Genesis 23:1-2.]
Abraham’s dear wife was gone. They’d been together over 60 years and had been through amazing things. Sarah had been by Abraham’s side through it all – but now she was gone and he tearfully mourned her.
The next part of the passage shows Abraham attempting to by a cave for which to bury his wife. Remember, Abraham is still considered an alien in the land. A well respected one, but still a foreigner who migrated from one area to another throughout the years. So now he needs to buy some property so he can bury his wife. She needs a permanent resting place.
Now when we read of someone saying, “Give me the land” or “I will give you the land”, they’re not saying it will be a free gift. It’s a way of referring to buying or selling something. It was a common way of negotiating in the ancient world.
[Read Genesis 23:3-20.]
After years of nomadic wanderings, Abraham finally owned a small piece of property in the midst of the land promised to him and his descendants. This property also became the family burial place for Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and Jacob.
With the death of Sarah the beginning of the end was upon Abraham’s family and he knew it. Even though Abraham had many years left in him, about 35, he still needed to make sure his family followed the Lord in faithfulness. So the next stage of the transition we see is:
II. The preparation of the next generation
Chapter 24 is a rather lengthy chapter so we’ll break it down in stages.