Deplorable Death

Genesis 23:1-11

1 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”

10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”

Life Insurance

Have you purchased “Life Insurance?” Accordingly, “Life Insurance” helps your family financially with funeral or cremation costs when you die. They may not like it but “Funeral Plan” is much proper term for it, eh?

What does the Bible teach about funeral preparation? What does “Life Insurance” show: Care for love ones or luxurious expenditure? Well, if you earned more than you need, spend it in the way you wish. It’s your choice!

However, funeral responsibilities should not precede our top priority as believers. Death is sweet for anyone who is assured of eternal life.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:33-34, 33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

To seek first His kingdom is to prioritize our eternal life. To have His righteousness prevails in our lifestyle should be our priority concern because it practically proves that His kingdom or Christ’s authority prevails in us.

The term “all things” includes not worrying of funeral preparation?

Christ never prepared for His funeral. Yet, His funeral was decently and appropriately done in customary manner among Jewish people. Christ did not prevent funeral preparation but did not teach to prioritize it either.

Jesus said to another man in Luke 9:59-60, 59 “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Christ was also concerned about funeral but it’s not a priority of all who follow Him. Actually, He said that funeral responsibility be assigned to others. He instructed that the top priority for His followers is to proclaim God’s kingdom or to share Christ’s good news even at funeral services.

At the elaborated funeral service for Billy Graham, his son Franklin Graham took that opportunity to preach the gospel. He challenged his listeners to trust Christ as Saviour and to follow Jesus as Lord. Proclaiming the good news of Christ practically exhibits that we follow Jesus as Lord.

Death is deplorable. It makes us grieve. We lament when love ones pass away. Funeral preparation can be one last practical expression of love.

A loving husband Abraham prepared for funeral at the passing of his wife.

1. Passing

1 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

The passing or death of Sarah revealed how much Abraham loved and cared for her. When Abraham mourned and wept over the death of Sarah, it exhibits emotional and relational intimacy they had as husband and wife.

The passing or death of our love ones is very painful and deplorable experience that we don’t like but we cannot escape from it. If love ones passed away, we mourn or weep, even if we are very certain of their eternal life. For sure, we will miss the good old days. We will miss the fun times and challenging times we shared with them.

Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died. Actually, He brought Lazarus back to life but still, He cannot help it. He did not just simply cry. He wept.

It is natural for us to mourn and weep at the passing of our love ones. But can we mourn and still experience peace in our heart?

The idea of death points us to Christ and reminds us of eternal life.

Christ Jesus declared in John 11:25-26, 25“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

There’s no better time to be assured of eternal than now. Make it sure that you have accepted Christ as your Saviour. So, follow Him as your Lord.

Top Ten Causes of Death

The National Center for Health Statistics published the top ten causes of death in the US registered in 2015: Heart disease: 633,842; Cancer: 595,930; Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041; Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571; Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323; Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561; Diabetes: 79,535; Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062; Nephritis, (kidney disease): 49,959; Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193.

On the average, there are 13,000 gun-related deaths yearly in the US. Many protesters have focused their effort against gun lately. Yet, protest against the top ten causes of death is no headlines, why? Not their priority?

One way or another, whatever the cause of death, our life on earth will end eventually. We don’t expect our life to be short but our priority should be to follow Christ as our Lord. What He says, we do. Furthermore, if Christ comes in our lifetime, we will be transformed eternally. Amen!

Jesus proclaimed in John 14:1-3, 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

It’s godly command. We can have peace and not be troubled, only if we follow the teachings of Christ. He also assures us that He will come back after the preparation of our place in heaven is completed. Are you excited?

Do you believe that Christ has prepared a place for you in eternity?

Would you not care more of eternal place than burial place on earth?

2. Place

Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”

The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

It demonstrated God’s blessing in Abraham’s life when the Hittites did not hesitate to provide a place to bury his dead wife.

Can you accept that God has put much respect in the hearts of the Hittites so that they considered Abraham as mighty prince among them?

Abraham’s image among the Hittites as mighty prince was a practical blessing from God. Respect from others is God’s blessing. The Hittites has respected Abraham because God blessed him. Nonetheless, Abraham dealt with the Hittites respectfully. The land he wanted as burial place belonged to the Hittites and he sought permission to purchase it.

Preparation for the funeral, purchasing a burial place was Abraham’s practical way to demonstrate his respect or regard for Sarah.

It says in Jeremiah 16:5-7, This is what the Lord says: “Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity from this people,” declares the Lord. “Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead. No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console them.

It was revealed to Jeremiah that when God withdraws His blessing, there will be no decent funeral. If you wish to be buried decently and appropriately, if you wish loved ones mourn for your passing or hope that they will be comforted also, it is much better to seek God’s blessing.

If we have His blessing, God will allow us to have a decent funeral.

Abraham purchased a place for decent burial place for his dead wife because God has blessed them. It was not just some simple burial place.

The Hittites let Abraham chose the best tomb available to bury his dead wife. They said, “Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

Righteous lifestyle and blessings Abraham received from God exhibit how God’s grace works in our life as believers. By faith, Abraham obeyed God even it meant to sacrifice his son Isaac who was the most valuable blessing he received from God. Obedient believers are blessed by the Lord.

By faith, we believe that God made the Hittites respected Abraham as mighty prince among them so that they let him chose the best burial place for his dead wife. Abraham chose also to pay full price for the burial place.

3. Price

Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”

10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”

When Abraham bowed down to the Hittites, it showed that he was also respectful to them even if they honoured him as mighty prince among them. Abraham knew exactly where he wanted to bury his dead wife. He was also willing to pay whatever price Ephron the Hittite would ask.

Isn’t that practical expression of love? Abraham has willingness to pay the full price. He did not bargain for it. If we love someone, willingness to pay the full price for funeral is practical proof. If they love us, shouldn’t we expect them to pay the full price for our funeral when we die?

Preparation for burial places has been practised long ago. The Hittites build tombs for burial. Egyptians built expressive and impressive monument as burial places for their kings. But not everyone who built a monument for himself has been given a decent, proper or appropriate funeral.

It says in 2 Samuel 18:17-18, 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him… 18During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

Absalom built a monument for himself in the hope that people will remember him one day but he was buried in a disgraceful way, why?

Why did nobody care to give him a decent funeral? Was it because he disrespected his father when he led a revolution against King David?

In Jerusalem, which was called the city of David, there’s a burial place for kings. Good kings were buried there but notorious kings who rebelled against the Lord were not buried in the burial place assigned for kings.

It says in 2 Chronicles 24:15-16, 15 Now Jehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. 16 He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple.

Jehoiada was a chief priest of the Lord and not a king. His burial in the places prepared for kings practically illustrates that if we have God’s blessing, we serve the Lord obediently, and we do not need to worry about decent funeral for us when we die. God will also bless us as we obey Him.

It says in Ecclesiastes 6:2-3, God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil. A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.

Preparing for funeral ceremonies should not be disregarded but should not precede finding favor from God also. Before considering how you may wish to be buried, make sure that you have the blessing of God.

Missing Plane

The MALAYSIA Airlines Flight MH370 still remains as mystery from the time it disappeared without a trace after it departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia going to Beijing, China. The missing aircraft was carrying 239 passengers and crews when it vanished on March 8, 2014.

There many instances of missing people that has been published or reported. It’s not comfortable to hear missing people presumed dead. Yet, death is a reality of life on earth that should not be disregarded.

How can we avoid discomfort in the conversation about death?

Death is never pleasant. We want to forget it but can’t avoid it either.

When Jesus invites to find rest in Him, it includes rest from stressful discussion of death. In any circumstance, (good or bad), Christ has paid on the cross the full price for believers to experience life to its fullness. Fullness of life includes experience of peace at all times (good or bad).

We may not understand or explain empirically according to scientific norms or standards but when we are filled and empowered by the Spirit of Christ, we experience peace in the midst of grief or happiness.

It exhibits what the Lord wants us to witness for His work in our life.

Deplorable death helps us determine if Jesus reigns actively in us.

<‘))):< ltsii/2018>:(((‘>

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.