Friday, May 24, 2013

A Grieving Prototype

Genesis 23:1-4 KJV
And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.
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 Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
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.

In what is one of the most touching scenes of the Old Testament we have here the means of Abraham's caring for Sarah after her death. Their years of marriage had been many and marked by life building experiences:
  • They had left their homeland and were alone in a new land
  • They had left the religion of their nativity and had worshipped God in spirit and in truth
  • They had endured the grief of years without a child
  • They had experienced difficult tests of their relationship
And now Sarah is dead and Abraham is left, alone in a strange land. His actions form a prototype and serve as Biblical instruction to all of faith in the loss of a loved one.

Abraham "buried her out of his sight."
In other words, he did not cling to his grief. That he did not purchase the field immediately signals that a time of grief passed, but Abraham did not dwell in the loss of his wife.

Abraham purchased a place in which to bury her.
The field became a family burial and served as a place of memorial for generations after. He did not dwell in his loss but neither did he or his heritage forget their roots.
One of the errors of modern America is looseness with regards to parents, grandparents and our family. The disintegration of the immediate family may be traceable to the disintegration of the respect for our family history.

Abraham insisted he purchase the field.
I do not mean to suggest that people should break their banks when burying their dead but I would caution against trying to get a "freebie." The value of the funeral is not for the one who has passed but the one who remains. Doing our responsibility is a way of resolving the grieving process.

Abraham pursued a wife for Isaac

This is said to be directly related to Sarah's death. It was time for the promises of God to move forward. Neither Abraham nor Isaac allowed themselves to get stuck in their loss but affirmed that what God had promised to Abraham was also promised to Isaac. They were comforted in Sarah's death by refocusing on God's future promises. 

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