Summary: When Sarah, Abraham's sister of 127 years and wife of who knows how long, dies, he loses a soul mate. Genesis 23 tells how he established a family burial plot and began to move on after this loss.
Can you believe it? Here we are making history at the Signal Mountain Church of Christ! This is the first day for two Sunday morning Worship services in our history. May the Lord give us all courage and commitment to go out and bring others in so that the house may be filled… twice!
For our lesson this morning we will pick up where we left off in Genesis . Over the next twelve weeks we will look at Real Families of Faith in your Bible. We will see that they were flawed and yet faithful. Some of them were so bad off you might not want them living in your neighborhood. These are lessons on Abraham and his closest descendants. Open your Bibles to Genesis 23.
This text is unusual for many reasons. First, it takes an entire chapter to talk about buying a grave site for Sarah. Why would the Holy Spirit devote that amount of inspiration to such a thing? I think most of us would want to know more about a lot of other things than this. God thought otherwise.
I hope as we look at this we may discover some things that are surprisingly important.
Let’s start with some biblical chronology of Abraham:
All through the life of Abraham the Bible tells us how old he is at major events in his life. This allows us to back up and see something else you may find interesting.
Abraham was ten years older than Sarah. But guess what? Abraham knew her when she was born! She was his half-sister, same father, but sister from the other mother. Just imagine! Sarah knew Abraham all of her life! Talk about a close family! They even married one another! Now that’s an amazing relationship, wouldn’t you say? I wonder when they started dating?
Abraham was the tenth generation from Noah. His father, Terah, left Ur of the Chaldeans and moved to Haran, north of Canaan and lived there until he died at 205 years old. Abraham was 75 when God called him to leave and go to the land God would show him, that is in Genesis 12:1-4. Sarah was 65. They moved down to Canaan with his nephew Lot and many other people and possessions. Genesis 12:5.
When they arrived in Canaan, God appeared to Abram and promised to give him the land. But a famine comes and Abram and Sarah and company all move down to Egypt. There Abram and Sarah tell people that she is his sister. Here we first learn that Sarah is strikingly beautiful. She is so beautiful Abram is afraid if others know she is his wife, they will kill him to get her. Now that’s pretty beautiful, wouldn’t you say? She may be 65, but she looks so lovely, she is dangerously attractive. And sure enough, Pharaoh hears about her and takes interest in her, so much so that he pays Abram handsomely for her and took her into his harem!
What do you think about that? In spite of this weakness, God intervened and made good on His promises to protect Abram. He plagued Pharaoh’s house until Pharaoh sent Sarah back to Abram.
Abram and Sarah returned to Canaan with lots of wealth from Egypt.
As the story of Abram and Sarah continue we see that God saw something in this couple. God made amazing promises to them, but He also made them wait patiently for their fulfillment. This process of promising and waiting seems to have helped build faith and faithfulness into the hearts and lives of both Abraham and Sarah. Isn’t it interesting that this works this way? You may think that instant answers to prayers and promises of God would make us strong in our faith, but that’s not usually the way it works at all. Faith is built on hearing God’s word and following God’s instructions while we wait for Him to fulfill them in His own time.
Abraham and Sarah lived to see God’s gift of a son. God gave them Isaac long after they were first informed. Isaac was born as a child of promise. He was a gift that came with surprises! Sarah had been with Abraham all of her life and had tried to fulfill God’s promise for Him by giving Abraham Hagar. Hagar had a son, Ismael, but this was not the son God promised. God graciously blessed Ismael too.
But Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was finally born. What a surprise!
A few years after that God surprised Abraham again by telling him to sacrifice Isaac, his only heir, his beloved son as a burnt offering. Abraham’s faith was so strong by then, he simply, faithfully obeyed.
That’s where we left off before last Christmas.
The next chapter in the story of Abraham is Genesis 23. Sarah, Abraham’s beloved wife, his sister of 127 years, dies.