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TEXT: Genesis 23:1-20

MESSAGE: Walking Through Loss

 

“…this chapter has to do with death, the death of Abraham’s beloved wife, Sarah. If Genesis 22 showed us a death averted, Genesis 23 shows us a death accepted. Even God’s calling and election did not free Abraham and Sarah from that painful reality.” — Iain Duguid

 

QUESTION: How did Abraham face one of the most difficult moments of his life?

1. He grieved for Sarah 2. He longed for home 3. He trusted in a better future

 

  1. He grieved for Sarah (v. 1-2)

“Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

 

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing…There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in…I dread the moments when the house is empty.” ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

  1. He longed for home (v. 4-6)

I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

 

Philippians 3:20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

 

“It was now some sixty years since God had called him to go to the land that he would give him. Yet here he was, so many years later, still an alien and a stranger, owning no land and having no secure status in the community. He was still just passing through.” — Iain Duguid

 

Hebrews 11:10 — For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

 

“…it is the landless sojourner how is God’s prince. It is the landless one who bears all the promises and lives in hope.”— Walter Brueggemann

 

  1. He trusted in a better future (v. 8; 17-20)

He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you… v. 17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city.19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.”

 

“With the purchase completed, ‘Abraham buried his wife…in the land of Canaan.’ She died and was buried in the land of promise ‘in a burial plot’ that was to be the resting place also of her husband, son, grandson and their wives.” — Gordon Wehnam 

 

TAKEAWAYS:

 

“How do you view the journey?” 

 

“How do you move forward?”

“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”   – John Piper

“How do you view the end?”

 

There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’ — Stephen Hawking

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 — “…he (God) has put eternity into man’s heart…”