Summary: In this sermon, we are privileged to see how a man of God faced the death of his wife and we learn some lessons about facing grief and helping others through their losses.
A. The story is told of three friends who were hanging out one day, and their conversation grimly turned to the issue of death.
1. One of the friends asked the others, “What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?”
2. One friend answered, “I would want people to say, ‘He was a great humanitarian who cared about his community.’ ”
3. The second replied, “I would want people to say, ‘He was a great husband and father, an example for many to follow.’ ”
4. The third friend quickly said, “I would hope someone says, ‘Look, he's moving!’ ”
B. Even though all of us believe that heaven is a real, and is a wonderful place for all of us who trust Christ as our Savior, I don’t think too many of us are anxious to get there any time soon.
1. We are like a baby in their mother’s womb who is comfortable where they are and is weary of the unknown world outside of the womb.
2. Nevertheless, there is a day coming when all of us will face death.
a. You see, despite the enormous efforts of doctors, rescue workers and other medical professionals worldwide, the global death rate remains constant at 99.99 percent.
b. The only reason it is not 100% is because we have a couple of people in the Bible who went into the afterlife without passing through the door of death.
3. Unless Jesus comes first, all of us will die someday, but that fact doesn’t make it any easier when we have to face our own death or the death of someone we love very much, does it?
a. So how do we prepare for our own eventual death?
b. And what do we do when we lose someone that is near and dear to us?
c. How do we handle the grief of loss when it seems almost overwhelming?
C. In our sermon series “Abraham – A Journey of Faith,” we have been learning a lot about walking with God by faith by watching Abraham face many of life’s toughest challenges and tests.
1. Today, we are privileged to take a peek at how a man of faith handled the death of his own wife after many, many years of marriage.
2. Do you have any idea how long the longest marriages in recorded history have been?
3. Here are the top three longest marriages according to Wikipedia:
a. The third longest marriage belongs to Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, from North Carolina, who were married on May 13, 1924 and were married 86 years and 290 days.
b. The second longest marriage belongs to Philipose and Sosamma Thomas, from India, who were married on February 17, 1918 and were married 88 years and 2 days.
c. The longest marriage belongs to Karam and Kartari Chand, from Bradford, England, who were married on December 11, 1925 and were married 90 years and 291 days.
d. Well Diana, those marriages make our 33 years, 247 days look like a blink of an eye!
4. Abraham and Sarah had been married for a long time – how long? We cannot be sure.
a. If Sarah was married at the typical age for ancient Near East cultures, then she was likely married around age 15.
b. If that is the case and she died at 127 years old, then she and Abraham were married for 112 years.
c. How amazing would it be to be married to someone for over a century and a decade?
D. Before we address the end of their marriage, consider with me just a minute the amazing journey Abraham and Sarah shared for well over a century.
1. Consider that for the first 50 years or so of their marriage, they lived in the Ur of the Chaldeans, somewhere near Babylon, in present-day Iraq.
2. Like everyone else in that time and place, they worshiped many gods, but then Abraham received a visit from the one true Creator God who invited him on a journey filled with promises for him and his descendants if they would serve the one true God, and Him only.
a. This must have been a very appealing prospect since the couple had not been able to have children in their 50 years of marriage.
3. Together that couple, aged 75 and 65, having been married about 50 years set out for a destination that was yet to be revealed by God.
a. We rarely make any trip without knowing exactly where we are headed, and we have either a map or a GPS to guide the way.
4. But they set out by faith to continue their love story on this journey of faith.
a. How do we know that theirs was a love story?