ABRAHAM PURCHASES A BURYING- PLACE FOR HIS DEAD Gen. 23:1-20
1. Sarah’s Sacred Epithet. She was:
a. A princess of God. Her name had been intentionally and meaningfully changed. She was no common woman. She, too, shares in the promise with Abraham, Gen. 17:15. She had served the counsel of God in much hope and faith. A poor sinner was she, yet a great woman of God, Gen. 17:16.
b. She had been rejuvenated to bear a son. Only one son. She who was barren will be mother in faith of the great family of God in the Father’s house with its many mansions. A picture of second birth. The dead made alive!! Gen. 17:17: Rom. 4:19b; Heb. 11:11.
c. She is “the mother of us all”. Gal. 4:26. She is the spiritual mother of all the redeemed which shall be in the New Jerusalem, that better country of promise.
d. She is a model wife. The world has her “models”. The church can copy this Sarah who is no Hollywood celebrity. She called her husband lord. Hers was the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit which in the sight of God is of great price. I Peter 3:1-6.
2. Sarah Dies. Vss. 1-2.
a. The days of her pilgrimage were 137 years. Isaac is about 37 years of age at this time. Abraham 137. He will continue another 38 years.
b. She died without receiving the promise. She, too, had dwelled in tents with her eye on the celestial city. What a dismal life and yet what glorious battle. All the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared. She dies at Hebron. See map.
c. She knows that she will be buried in hope, the hope of the blessed resurrection! Hers is the victory; death swallowed up to victory. I Cor. 15:54. She is included in the “These all died in faith”. Heb. 11:13.
3. Abraham Purchased a Burying- Place. Vss. 3-16.
a. His time of mourning is over. The strong man had found that God’s strength was supplied in his weakness. He must have mourned as those who live in the hope of the resurrection. He saw Easter morning! He saw it from afar. John 8:56. He smiled through his tears as he looked upon his beloved dead. Here, too, he is the father of all believers in hope. Heb. 11:13-15.
b. He will now bury his dead. No, he will not cremate Sarah’s body. He is no heathen who simply believes in the immortality of the soul. He sows in hope. I Cor. 15:35-58. He knows that his pilgrimage, his labors intertwined with those of his beloved spouse were not in vain!
c. Thus, he purchases a burying-place. A stranger, he needs just this. He needs a resting-place (cemetery) till the glorious morning. He buys from the sons of Heth. It is the cave of Machpelah. The gateway to heaven in Christ!
4. Machpelah’s Cave a Memorial.
a. Here Abraham writes his EBENHAEZER. It is an expression of Abraham’s faith in the heavenly nature of the promise. He purchases a grave, the gateway to the heavenly city, which is prepared for him and all the redeemed, spiritual children.
b. It is a sign: the grace of the patriarchal fathers and mothers. Here lie in hope: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Leah. Read Gen. 49:29, 30, 32; 50:13.
c. It is a grave indeed; in it corruption is seen. Yet, it is a grave sanctified by the grace of Christ’s resurrection who has broken the bars of death. God is not ashamed of this grave. He claims its occupants. He is called their God. Matt. 22:32; Heb. 11:16; Ex. 3:6, 15; 16:4, 5; Deut. 1:8.