Summary: In the Christian life, we will all face times of lose. And with that lose we will grief, but what we do after that grieving period is crucial.
Following In the Footprints of Faith
STANDING UP FROM BEFORE THE DEAD
Intro: We have been privileged to walk with Abraham through the peaks and valleys of a life well lived. We have seen him leave his homeland to walk with God by faith. We have witnessed his successes and his failures. We have seen him as he experienced the joy of childbirth and watched as he willingly gave that child up to the will of the Lord. Abraham’s life has been filled with the best and the worst that life can dish out.
Genesis 22 took this man to the pinnacle of faith and obedience. Now in chapter 23 we see Abraham go into the depths of the valley of the shadow of death. Here, as we watch him say goodbye to his wife Sarah, we see a man who has learned to walk by faith as he weathers the storms of life. This morning, I would like for us to watch Abraham in these verses as he teaches us how to live the life of faith even when tragedy enters our view. I want to preach for a while on the thought Standing up from before the Dead.
I. IT WAS A TIME OF FAREWELLS (vv. 1-3a)
A. The Sadness Of Separation
• We are told that Abraham’s wife of some 70 years has died.
• This kind of separation is part of everyone’s life, but when it comes, we are never quite prepared for the hurt it brings.
• Thank god, the cruel messenger of death will be done away with forever one day.
B. The Sting Of Sorrow
• When death entered the home of Abraham, it broke his heart.
o The Bible says that he came to "mourn" and to "weep".
o These words mean "to wail" and to "shed tears", respectively.
• By the way, this is a natural reaction to death!
o There are times when we hear people tell us not to weep over our dead, but when they are stripped from our presence, it is impossible not to weep for and miss them.
C. The Strength Of Steadfastness
• The Bible tells us that "Abraham stood up from before his dead".
o This means that when the mourning period was over, Abraham moved on with his life.
• You see, grief is a normal part of living, but there is a time when grief must reach an end.
o Sorrow over death is natural, but sorrow that does not end is unnatural.
o We are told in the Bible, "But we don not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope" 1 Thess. 4:13.
• May we learn to rejoice over our loved ones who, like Sarah, have entered into glory!
o One day, we will join them there!
II. IT WAS A TIME OF FAITHFULNESS (vv. 3b-16)
Abraham has been given all the land by the promise of God. However, He does not own one square inch of the land at this point. He goes to speak to the men of the city to acquire a place to bury the dead.
A. Abraham Declares His Identity (v. 4a)
• He tells the men of the city that he is still a pilgrim among them.
o He has lived here some 62 years at this point, but he has never settled down.
o He says that he is a "newcomer" and is just one "passing through".
o Even after all this time, he has never set down his roots in this world.
• What a lesson to the children of God!
o As long as our roots do not go too deeply in this world, we will not become too entangled in its affairs.
o May we never forget our identity!
o We are pilgrims and strangers, in this world.
o We also should strive to live this way and not settle down, but keep traveling, looking for that city that will be our eternal home!
B. Abraham Demonstrates His Integrity (vv. 4b-16)
• In order to secure a place to bury his wife, Abraham strikes a deal with one of the sons of Heth, a man by the name of Ephron.
o Abraham mentions a certain piece of property and Ephron offers to give it to him, but Abraham refuses, because he does not want to be indebted to any man.
• This is a good lesson for us as well!
o We need to beware that we owe no man anything but love.
o When Ephron sees that he has the advantage over Abraham, he charges him far more than fair price, but instead of standing up for himself, Abraham humbly accepts the offer.