Sarah was 127 years old when she died. After more than 100 years of marriage Sarah died. Death parts those whom nothing else could. Leaving Ur could not part them. The change of life-style form a house to living in a tent could not part them. The situation with Sarah and Pharaoh, Abraham’s lying, the events taking place with Hagar and Abraham, Ishmael could not part them, Sarah and Abimelech situation, even Abraham’s taking Isaac to Moriah to sacrifice him did not separate them. Nothing could separate them… until death. It’s a far cry from marriage today.
ABRAHAM, THE FRIEND OF GOD
by Delbert Young
Death of Sarah
When Your Spouse Dies – Until Death Do Us Part
Death of Sarah
Scriptures: Genesis 23:1, 2, 1 Peter 3:6, Genesis 23:3-4, Genesis 23:5-9, Genesis 23:10-16, 2 Samuel 24:24, Genesis 23:17-19
Genesis 23:1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.
Genesis 23:2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
And Sarah died in Kirjatharba
Sarah was 127 years old when she died. After more than 100 years of marriage Sarah died. Abraham and Sarah lived comfortably together with little discomfort for many years, but death parts those whom nothing else could part. Leaving Ur could not part them. That move could cause many families problems. The change of life-style form a house to living in a tent could not part them. The situation with Sarah and Pharaoh could not part them. Abraham’s lying and Sarah’s willingness to go along with the lie did not part them. The events taking place with Hagar and Abraham could not part them. Abraham could have kept Hagar and rejected Sarah, but he did not. Ishmael could not part them. This did cause problems, but they remained together. The Sarah and Abimelech situation did not part them. Even though it seemed in the context Sarah enjoyed the attention from Abimelech, she stayed with Abraham. The taking of Isaac to Moriah to sacrifice did not separate them. Nothing could separate them… until death.
Were there times of fear and stress during their marriage? Sure there were (1Pe 3:6; Gen 20:11) all the above situations could be enough to cause serious marital problems. Peter writes about the fear Sarah experienced. However, fear could not separate them.
1 Peter 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (KJV)
1 Peter 3:6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIV)
Abraham and Sarah obviously were able to communicate and get through any problem. They listened to each other and responded to each other even if they did not agree, they made a marriage work until death did them part. Notice how I said this. They made a marriage work. A marriage is made to work. It won’t just work. You make it work!
What do we learn from Abraham and Sarah as covenant kingdom people concerning our marriages today thousands of years later? Most of us will never experience in our marriages what Abraham and Sarah faced. They worked through each problem. What we learn is just that – we work through marital problems only allowing death to separate us. We all know there are exceptions, but the exceptions should be seldom and not the rule.
Sarah died in Kirjatharba
It is not a pleasant thought, but do we ever consider where we would like to die? Sarah died in the land promised to them by the Lord God. This was the place they made their home. This is the place they made their witness. This is the land they birthed their heritage. The Lord makes sure we are told where Sarah died. The reason is she died in her promise. Judy’s told me where she wants to be buried and she’s made it clear and why. It’s heritage. It’s where her parents, grandparents, and major relationships are buried. This can become a serious issue.
and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her
Even special friends and favorites of God are not exempted from the slap of death nor the hurt of it. When the loss of a loved one is experienced we question God. We ask, “Why?” There is no answer. There is only a knowing even God’s friend must deal with death. We all deal with death.
We learned in Genesis chapters 4 and 5 Cain’s lineage was known for the worldly things accomplished. There is no mention of their days lived before bringing their heritage seed. There is no mention of the days Cain’s lineage lived after their heritage seed was born. There is no mention of the length of their lives. Why should there be? They would only be destroyed by the flood. The opposite is true for the promised lineage of Seth. All sorts of information is given about Abel’s lineage concerning their days and their deaths. This is also true for Abraham and Sarah. Her days are recorded. She accomplished the primary purpose of her life. She gave birth to Isaac and she died a good old age of 127. Imagine it! Your granny finally died at 127.
Abraham not only mourned for Sarah. He also did “weep for her.” Abraham loved Sarah. She had been a good wife, friend, and companion for well over 100 years. We hear the tenderness of the Holy Spirit as He records, “….and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”
Abraham came to mourn and to weep. His purpose was to mourn and to weep. I guess sometimes we believers attempt to tell people they should not weep because “the deceased is in a better place,” or “the deceased is with the Lord” or “the deceased has gone home.” While all this may be true, it does not eliminate the need to mourn and weep – even for Christians. There is a void and a wound only healed after the mourning and weeping has taken place.
Genesis 23:3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
Genesis 23:4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
Genesis 23:4 “Here I am, a visitor in a foreign land, with no place to bury my wife. Please sell me a piece of ground for this purpose.” (TLB)
And Abraham stood up from before his dead
There is a time to mourn and to weep and we have noted this with Abraham. There is also a time to stand up from before the dead and move on. For some it may be sooner than for others. Lengthy times of mourning are not healthy for the body or soul or spirit. People can actually mourn their self to death. People can stop eating and damage their own body. The soul (mind) can become so depressed a mental disorder can occur. People can become bitter at God and damage their spirit. It is dangerous to mourn too long. Proper mourning and weeping will aid in the healing. Too much mourning and weeping will bring serious problems. Kingdom people will stand up from before their dead and move on.
a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead
The concept of the family cemetery, i.e. “buryingplace” is nearly obsolete. A reason for this are the life styles we now live. People move all over the country and earth establishing their own families. This isn’t a negative issue. It’s actually great as we preach the gospel all over the world. Many of the apostles died in countries other than their homeland. I’m certain I will. Interestingly, my parents purchased plots in a city they, my sister, me, and our spouses were to be buried. (My mom was a thinker.) However, we all moved. They were buried in a different state and city. My sister was buried with them. Where will I and my wife be buried? It will be where they were buried. It’s exactly where my wife said she would be buried. Abraham wanted to establish a burying place. He wanted his family together while living. He also wanted them together in eternity. He was thinking beyond the grave.
Genesis 23:5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
Genesis 23:6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
Genesis 23:7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
Genesis 23:8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,
Genesis 23:9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.
thou art a mighty prince among us
Abraham carried a wonderful witness. His neighbors saw Abraham as “a might prince” of a man. Because of their love and respect for Abraham and Sarah people came to comfort Abraham and to mourn for and honor Sarah in death.
I have presided over and been a part of many funerals. It is always easy to differentiate those seen by their neighbors as a prince and princess from the others. People will come and stand in line to pay their respect for one. They will barely come at all for the other. I recently was a part of the officiates at a funeral where it was impossible to get all the people into the room. The man was a prince in his community. What a witness!
A witness like this does not come easily. It was obvious much work and love and care had been released by Abraham and Sarah into their region. People loved them and respected them and came to be with and honor the “mighty prince” of a man Abraham and his princess Sarah.
our sepulchres bury thy dead…. give me the cave of Machpelah
It is interesting Abraham would not bury his dead in their sepulchers of the heathen, though it was fine with them for Abraham to bury his dead in theirs. I have no real answers for this. Abraham simply would not bury his dead with their dead even though it would have been free of any cost to Abraham. Abraham said no. We need to be separate.
Genesis 23:10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
Genesis 23:11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
Genesis 23:12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.
Genesis 23:13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
Genesis 23:14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
Genesis 23:15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
Genesis 23:16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.
I will give thee money for the field
Christians are the biggest “sponges” I know. Three times Ephron attempted to give the cave and field free to Abraham. What would most “Christians” have done? They would have grabbed it up. They call what they do “being a Jew” or “getting a deal” or “being a good steward.” Father Abraham paid well for what he got. He never attempted to cheat or be unfair or get it for a cheaper price.
Added to this, Abraham and Ephron were friends. We expect a “deal” from our friends. We would say, “Come on Ephron, cut the price a little for your old buddy Abraham.” Not Abraham the friend of God and the father of the seed of faith.
Ephron offered it free. Most of us would have grabbed it up and then say something like, “The Lord gave this land to me.” Not Abraham. He knew it belonged to Ephron and Abraham would pay full price for it. Abraham did not barter and “Jew” Ephron down on the price. Abraham pulled out the silver and weighed to Ephron the amount.
This is one reason Abraham was seen as a mighty prince among the heathen. It amazes me the crummy witness that many Christians have concerning finances. Many do not pay their bills and are so “tight” with their little money that they squeak. I remember years ago that I once played golf at a course that gave preachers a discount. I liked that and when I moved to the city where I now pastor I went to play golf at a course in a neighboring community. I asked the owner if he gave a discount to preachers. He was in no way impressed that I was a preacher and said a few words that I will not repeat. He then said something like, “I should charge preachers extra to play here.” Taken back by his attitude toward preachers I hushed and got into the golf cart and went to hole number one. However, I was forced to think about the event and the witness I had given to this man who obviously had an already bad opinion of preachers. I had given him an even worse picture of a Christian. He made his lively hood at his golf course. I had tried to cheapen the course and take from his income. I determined that I would try never to give that picture again.
Christians should pay the best and the most. I have heard several waitresses say that “Christians” are the worst of all tippers. Waitresses make their living on tips. We should tip the best and we should have the best. This was the attitude of Father Abraham. He was not cheap and was not a sponge.
Can you imagine attempting to talk the Lord “down” on our tithes? It doesn’t work that way and we know it. We know what the Lord expects and we give it. If you will notice, great men and women of God were not cheap. This is especially true with their giving to the Lord. David said it this way,
2 Samuel 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
Kingdom people should stop being sponges and looked upon as cheap. Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it, but when you can afford it get the best and pay for it.
Genesis 23:17 And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
Genesis 23:18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.
all the borders round about, were made sure
Abraham did it legally. He made it “sure”. Another lesson we learn is to make things “sure.” Today we should get what we expect in writing. We should acquire some type of legal document. Most Christians are weak in legalities. We think people will honor their word and do what they say they are going to do. This is not true even when one believer is dealing with another believer. Make it sure. So many misconceptions and hurts can be avoided when we make it sure. Abraham did the deal before witnesses. The borders were well known and marked. It was clear who had what and who was to do what.
Abraham paid quickly and in full and on time. Abraham left no place for a bad report. He was a mighty prince of a man.
Genesis 23:19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.
Abraham buried Sarah his wife
As sad as it is, one spouse will bury the other. It is not something we think about when we are young. We do think more about it as we age. Again we note the endearment of the man and his companion and helpmeet. The Holy Spirit lovingly writes, “Abraham buried Sarah his wife”.
What we learn from this lesson that we can apply to our lives today.
Every marriage will experience numerous and serious problems. Few marriages will experience what Abraham’s and Sarah’s marriage experienced. Abraham and Sarah prove that a marriage will experience problems, but only death can separate the couple.
Abraham mourned and wept for Sarah. He came to mourn and weep for Sarah. Believers often attempt to comfort by saying the deceased is “in a better place, or “with the Lord,” etc. True comfort only comes after mourning and weeping works its healing.
After mourning and weeping, the kingdom person must stand up from the dead and move on. Remaining in mourning and weeping is dangerous to the body, soul, and spirit.
Abraham was seen as a mighty prince by his neighbors. How do our neighbors see us?
“Christians” are often cheap. We often ruin our witness by the way we handle our finances. We should pay the best and have the best.
Abraham made the deal for Machpelah “sure.” He made it legal and binding. We today need to make our arrangements “sure.” We tend to “take the word” of a person and the end is often very unpleasant.
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