Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: Dealing with Death
Accompanying Ray Pritchard sermon: Death of a Princess
Accompanying Ray Stedman sermon: Till Death Do Us Part
In yesterday's passage we saw Abraham's belief in a resurrection. It turns out that he didn't need to cling to this knowledge for the sake of his son Isaac (whom he did not have to sacrifice after all), but for the sake of his wife Sarah. He was able to mourn, but not without hope, due to his belief in the resurrection.
Though it seems like a simple legal transaction (and it is, one that seems odd to us, but was the cultural way of doing things back then), was more than that. It was an act of faith. God had promised Abraham this very land, and he acted in faith by investing in it. He purchased this land from the very people who would later have to give it up to the Israelites. He staked his claim, and chose, not only Sarah's burial site, but his own and, indeed, his family's. This act of faith was not groundless, he acted based on God's promises. Abraham had not given up hope in God's promise, even though it had been over 40 years since he left Ur and he did not own the Promised Land.
Isn't it also the case that the way we spend our money indicates where we have placed our faith?
Pritchard ends his sermon this way:
In many ways we stand exactly where Abraham stood 4000 years ago. The people of God still die one by one. I still do funerals every year for people I know and love. Like Abraham, we too have not received the fulfillment of everything God has promised for us. And the point of Genesis 23 is still true today. We die, but the promises of God live on after us.
For all the wonderful things that we have experienced at the hand of the Lord, we still must pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Our hope is this. That He who has seen us this far will not abandon us when we need him most. He will be with us when we must cross the dark Jordan. He will personally escort to the mansions of eternal light.
Cheer up, child of God. Smile through your tears. Death is the worst that can happen to us. The best is yet to come.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 24