Speaker: Jerry Cisar
If Genesis were written by modern Americans, the creation story would take 10 volumes, and the rest of Genesis might be told in 5 chapters. Instead, creation is told in 2 chapters, and the rest takes 48. What is important to the modern American is not what was important to the biblical authors.
Genesis 23 covers the death of Sarah and her burial that ensues. Until now, death was generally covered with, “and he died.” Why didn’t that simply become, “and she died”? Why do we have a whole chapter dedicated to it, complete with mourning and weeping, and all the detail given to buying a cemetery plot? Is that because God wants us all to buy burial plots? I don’t think so. This chapter makes a significant contribution to the story of Abraham’s faith—the final chapter of his faith.
Genesis 23 is about faith and death, bitterness and hope. It is about how Abraham, in faith, faces death, rejects bitterness, and embraces hope. And it is given to help all believers, as we face death, to reject bitterness and embrace hope.