A Long-lasting Memorial
Lord, may I learn who I am through trust in You, the One who can make more than I can imagine.
Read Genesis 23:1-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Can you think of something God has done for you that you would like to be remembered by family and friends when you are gone?
Two millennia after Abraham bought a cave in Hebron, Herod the Great built a massive structure over it to accommodate the pilgrims of his day. Fast forward another 2,000 years and this burial site is visited by tourists from all over the world. Muslims, Christians and Jews come to remember this couple who remained faithful to the one Eternal God and his promises, as they remained faithful to each other through the ups and downs of a lifelong marriage.
We have seen how Abraham loved his sons and was torn at the thought of parting from them. But now we glimpse his love for Sarah through his grief at her death at Hebron (2). Nearby is Mamre, always associated with great trees, where they lived and built an altar to the Lord after parting from Lot (Gen. 13:18). There Sarah heard the Lord’s angel announce her imminent pregnancy (Gen. 18:1,10). It was a place of good memories. Abraham wants to be sure her body remains there in peace.
Courteous negotiations take place with the local elders. There will always be some reluctance to part with land. They may have seen some advantage in offering a burial place as a favor to Abraham (6,11). He, however, wants ownership that will be recognized in perpetuity. As with the well at Beersheba (Gen. 21:30), he makes it publicly known that he has paid in full. Abraham gets a larger site than he said he needed–a field with trees as well as the cave (17). The price is reckoned to be very high, but the result is that Sarah’s memory is established in the land God promised her. At this tomb three generations of rival siblings will meet in peace to bury their parents (Gen. 25:9,10; 35:27-29; 50:13).
Reflect on how you want to be remembered when you have died. How are you living to make that possible?
Lord, I want to witness to You in my life, and also through my death. Help me to model the difference You make in life and death.
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