God’s Acts of Providence (19)

The Chief End of Man (18)

The Death of Sarah

Genesis 23:1-4

300px-Burial_of_Sarah231 Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2And Sarah died at Kir’iath-ar’ba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

Sarah’s life was very long by our standards; full of hardship, loneliness and ambiguity.  She also loved deeply and was loved greatly in return by Abraham.  Ponder the sight of this great man of faith, who walked often with the LORD God, weeping for the loss of Sarah.

Sarah was true to her marriage vows as they were understood in that ancient time.  She left her land and kin to follow Abraham into the great unknown and never faltered in her commitment to him.  She shared her husband with another woman in a vain attempt to ensure the continuance of his line outside of God’s promise; and paid dearly for the rest of her life.  She yet still knew the joy of being the vessel of the keeping of God’s promise, with laughter of bitterness turned to that of rejoicing with Isaac’s birth.

If we (I) judge Sarah harshly at times may we remember that she lived within, not outside of this story.  For her, the end wasn’t known.  All was fear, hope; confusion, confidence; despair, faith – mixed into the baffling fog of life lived on the edge with a man who was pioneering the boundaries of faith into marvelous but unknown new territory.

Lastly and most importantly by far, Sarah was beloved by God.  She was included by the LORD as a partner with Abraham, both receiving new names with the covenant.  Her infirmities were not disqualifying, her strength used for great good.  Great is the mystery of faith.  Greater still is our God.

3And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and said to the Hittites, 4“I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

Abraham now seeks to honor Sarah through a proper burial.

The remainder of this chapter recounts the bargaining for a burial site in tremendous detail.  The point is to make it absolutely clear that Abraham now has legal ownership of a small piece of the Promised Land.

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