Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Chronicles 5-6, Psalm 119: 129-136, 1 Corinthians 2
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 23

Genesis 23 English Standard Version (ESV)

Sarah's Death and Burial

23 Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died atKiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham,“Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.” Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.”
10 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.” 12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.”14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.
17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.
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
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Chronicles 7-8, Psalm 119:137-144, 2 Corinthians 3

No comments: