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Abraham Mourns

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Sarah dies at 127 years. Her and Abraham probably shared 100 years together. What can we learn from a grave plot and God’s promises about how we should invest in eternal promises

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One of the things that we like to celebrate. Is marriages that last a really long time? Kind of cool to see isn't it when somebody says they were married for 50 and 60 years think for just a second about Abraham. I don't know how old he was when he got married, but he probably celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary don't today. I mean, they might have celebrated their 25th or even their 40th before they had children think about that. She was 90 when she had kids. Maybe they celebrate it. You know, it's just

But they spent a lot of life together. They must have had an incredible relationship. You know, I've only been married thirty some years and I can't even imagine that I had a life without Nancy in it. It must have been an incredible relationship they have. And some of you who have had that experience understand how the simple words at the beginning of the days passage must have been hard for Abraham. 23:1 Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years. These were the years of the life of Sarah. And she died at kiriath-arba. That is Hebron. Can you imagine some of you can some of you are in that process of being alive when your mate is already passed on or or going through some kind of grieving process after having an incredibly meaningful relationship with someone? But here is a a guy and a girl that if they got married at the same age that I did. What is celebrated a hundred years of marriage think about that? It's a lot of years. It's been a lot of time together. Cuz we read on it. It says an Abraham went into mourn for Sarah and weep for her and I've had people that have lost a mate said this is really hard and I can't seem to get over it very easily and I said, that's okay. They said why is that? Okay because if you can get over it really easily. It didn't mean you out of very good relationship. You know when you hear about a friend's friend who dies we don't often feel that very deeply do we but when we lose people that we love we feel it incredibly deeply and Abraham who may be spent more than a hundred years with Sarah probably felt it really really deeply.

It was so been a hard day. Hard thing to have the person that he loves so dearly pass on. And so we did something very interesting. He moved to Abraham action and Abraham Rose from before his dad and said to the Hittites this. I'm a Sojourner in a foreigner among you give me property among you for a burying place that I may bury my dead out of my sight. This is really interesting because probably the tradition of his family had been that we have a family burial site, you know, I just talked to my parents before Memorial Day and they were doing the obligatory going to the cemeteries and it's just a really big deal for them. They do it every year and they Place Memorial Reese on on the mates that they lost in the in their in their young adult life when they both had lost a maid and in grandparents Graves and and and those people every year that's a part of their Journey.

And Abraham is going through a transition in his life. He has this promise of God remember in chapter 12. It says leave your people and their place and go to the place that I will tell you. It's all a sudden. He's not thinking about man. I need to get back to Ron and I I need to bury Sarah there. He's thinking even though I'm a Sojourner an alien here. This is really wire. I want to bury my wife. But see aliens and foreigners didn't have many rights just like here in the United States. There are certain things that if you're an alien or if you're not from here, you don't have the right to do it. So he did the thing that he was supposed to do. He went to the city Gates and he plead with the people at The City Gate who said I would like to buy a burial plot for my wife.

It was it was a kind of a crazy request because they could have just as easily said they were among you're not even from here. You don't have any rights? You just going to have to figure this thing out on your own. There's no way we're going to give you the land. They could have done that but they didn't do that. In fact here was their response to him the Hittites answered Abraham here Us My Lord. You are a prince of God Among Us is not cool. They recognized that did Abraham had this God and he had the special relationship and other people saw, you know, I'm out in the community and sometimes I'm in circles that you all are in. I'm traveling with people that you all connect with probably a lot more often than I do and I will mention your names. And you know what pleases me is most always when I mentioned your name. You have a good reputation in our community. That's a great thing. You see they're recognizing who you are. I might be talking to some contractor people on sale have contractors to go to my church and I'll mention names and District rape people. I'll be at the hospital in and I'll mention yeah, I know some people that were in the hospital.

Different places that I go different ways and different people that I see. I mentioned you guys. Abraham had a great reputation to listen to what they said because he had such a great reputation and they recognized his relationship with the Lord bury your dead in the choices of our Tunes. None of us will withhold from you his two to hinder you from burying your dad. Oh, that's cool. Yeah, they're saying move in with our dad.

Their processes are very different experiences when I went to Brazil, I never ever experienced this before. We were taken to this huge Cemetery in Brazil and they had like these grave plots and on top of them they built these structures. And they explained to me that they bury the dead a lot different over there basically underneath these structures which of the family would create and they they rented these they didn't get to own the property like you in a week and fire burial plots here inside. These would be a crypt. Okay, and the reason there was a crypt underneath there is because the water table and everything was so high. And so they build a cement things and there were shelves. Okay, most of them had like four to six shelves in them. And when somebody passed away they put their body on a shelf. Okay, and then over time the family would have more than the four to six people that were dead. And so then they would take the Shelf where the person was least there anymore, and they would take all of those bones and either they in the guy said they do two things at them either they take them home and I'm just like really don't want to open that closet.

Or they just gather mom put him in a corner. And and so there was this constant process. And so the part of the reason that he's saying I don't want to be buried with your people is because I don't want Sarah eventually to be taken off the shelf, you know and replaced with someone else and so he he said immediately to this. He said Abraham Rose and bowed to the Hittites the people of the land and he said to them this is really interesting because you got to remember this is more like an Asian culture. And so there's a humility that they had so they all would have been sitting In Abraham's having this discussion and they're all at the same level but he wants to show them honor and so he stands and he doesn't look them in the eye. Any e doesn't do this pontificating like we would do. He humbly blouses head and so you can hear him kind of talking into his own chest. And these are the words that he says he says if you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight hear me in a treat for me Ephraim the son of Zohar that he may give me the cave of machpelah. which he owns at the end of his field of this is really interesting because Abraham must have thought about this day because he knew exactly what he wanted.

You knew exactly where you wanted this. And so he he's doing this thing. That's kind of interesting. We don't usually do this in if we want to have a discussion with Ephraim. We just go talk to Ethan, right? but in their culture to honor them You talk to everybody and hopefully even hears you, okay? So that's what happens. For the full price. Let me get let him give to me in your presence as a property for a big bearing place until he says the Shelf, but I want to place. That's what I want. Well even happen to be there not your friend was sitting among the Hittites and Hebron The Hitman answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites and all who are in the gate of the city. Now, this is interesting because some people some of the commentary said this was just a polite process that he went through. Okay, so that they're just kind of playing a game here other people thought that maybe you've heard was sincere because this is what he francaise. No my Lord hear me I give you the field I give you the cave that is in it in the side of the sons of my people. I give it to you bury your dead. And so basically you don't have to pay for the property. I'll just give it to you. Go ahead and bury your dead. But Abraham wouldn't have it. This is what Abraham said that Abram bow down before the people. And he said even in the hearing of the people of the land, but if you will hear me, I give the price of the field accept it from me that I may bury my dad. Yo, I think there's a reason why this took place. Have you ever had somebody give you something with strings attached? Have you ever had that experience? Do you enjoy that? No, in fact most of us will say this sometime after we've had that experience I wish I would have just paid full price for it, right Instead of dealing with the drama that I'm dealing with think about this.

Do you think Abraham once people in about a hundred years ago the family even to go? Well, we don't agree with what Dad did and we don't really like that Abraham and his descendants. So we rescind the deal. He didn't want to have that experience.

You don't realize I think there's a lesson in here. I've been thinking about this is I think that's some of us are always wanting to get the very best price and sometimes we're wanting to get the very best deal or sometimes even as a church were thinking that people should give us things. I think that there's a value sometimes more times than we realize. Turn on always look for the deal. But to treat people with dignity and give them what they deserve even felt this for a business Community sit on the board of the business Community. There is constantly another event or another thing is coming to town and they go and let's get ahold of the business community so they can give us a discount and treat our people better and in my mind now that I've been involved a little longer I want to go. How about if we just let him make some money, you know, we don't always have to give you a discount every time just cuz you have a cool idea. You know. Why do they always have to lessen taking care of their family so that your guests can have a cheaper experience? Interesting, isn't it? So here's Abraham responding even answered Abraham my Lord listen to me a piece of land worth 400 shekels of silver. What is between you and me bury your dead. So he gives him a price everybody that I read about this price cuz I have no idea what 400 shekels of silver means, you know, Jesus Christ was betrayed for 40. This is a lot more and basically they think that even took advantage of Abraham

He gave him a high price. But listen what that Abraham did an Abraham listen to Efren and Abraham wait out for even the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites 400 shekels of silver according to the way to current among the merchants. You know, this is really interesting because Abraham knew what he was going to do when he went to the city Gates. He was prepared. He didn't say. Okay. I'll get back to you. He was passionate about this. I think part of the reason he was passionate about this is because he loved Sarah.

There was no expense. My grandpa Stevens died. He had run a tree nursery in the community for 40 years. And he had taken care of the funeral home and then I'll their landscaping for general for decades. and when he died

They got the notice and they immediately went and found a casket. And said and showed it to my family and said this one's for mr. Stevens. Do you want to have all around the edges all the way around Christmas trees?

Abraham was prepared. To take care of Sarah. Abraham knew exactly the piece of land he wanted he probably had already weighed out how much you thought it would probably cost. And so the second even gave the price. Abraham gave the cash.

But this question we have to ask. so The field of Efron and Max and Max pull up which was on the Eastside of mammary the cave with with the K was in it and all the trees that were in the field throughout but it's whole land. Was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites before all who went into. At the Gate of the city C. He he did it completely legally. He did it exactly how he did. He crossed all the die seed you took care of the Cross all the t's you took care of all the eyes. He completely to care this because of the person that he locked. But there's a question we need to ask. Why Makela? Why did he pick this piece of land? Why did he decide that? This was the place that he wanted to bury Sarah? Why?

Because you know, he was very specific when he went to the city. He didn't say. Hey does everybody have a piece of land? I'm looking for a place to bury. My family. I can't would be nice. He didn't say that you knew exactly what he wanted. Why I'm going to give you three reasons why. first of all This place had a connection to Abraham and Sarah's Faith Journey. Okay, let's go back to chapter 13 chapter 13 is when him and lots remember him and both had herds and everything and they needed to separate and so all of a sudden he he went through the separation and after he went to the separation God spoke to him and this is what the Lord said to him after they separated. He says lift up your eyes and look for the place where you are northward and Southward and Eastward and Westward for all the land that you see I give to you and your Offspring forever. It went on to say this. He says I make your Offspring as the dust of the earth so that if one can count the dust of the earth, you're offering also can be counted. Arise walk the length and the breadth of the land or I will give it to you remember that I'm saying that and so we walked the land and he took on the commands and he was reminded of the thing the guy that told him in chapter 12 was to go to this land now, he was in this land and I was reminding of this process and then in verse 18 and tells you that after he walked where did he go to live? So ever moved his tent and came and settled by The Oaks of mamre.

Which was at Hebron and there he built an altar to the Lord. You see he lined up the burial plot for his family with the promises that God had made to him. He picked the place of significance. I will make this guest. It's a Biblical guess probably from where his tents were he could have seen this field and knew the cave was there because of the time you spent there. It's so he picked a place that connected to his faith Journey. That's why I think that there's a second reason and the Lord appeared to him by The Oaks of mamre as he sat the day at the day of his tan In the Heat of the day if you remember and chapter 18 God and two angels came to the remember that and they they and he was living in memory at the time and God came there at the time and risk and it tells us this and the Lord says I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah your wife shall have a son. Wow. There's another reason why. This was a place of incredible significance in their faith journey, and he was setting up a memorial a plot to remember the epicenter of their faith experience. There's a second reason. After this Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Makela east of memory. That is Hebron wear. In the land of Canaan you see I think he picked this land because he realized you know, this is the land that God had promised to us this land represent the place that God has promised to us. I don't want to bury my wife. Where are our families going to be for Generations. I'm picking this location because God promises this so I need to start living on that promise. Remember the story. I told years ago. It came out of that little 40 days of prayer book. It was about the farmers that got together and they were praying that God would bring rain and what did one guy wear to that meeting? Can you remember? He wore waiters. Why did he where waiters cuz he believe the guy was going to bring the rain the other guys all look and said, what are you doing? You says I believe in the promise. I keep ready for the rain.

Abraham was living out his faith by even the location that he chose to bury his dad his beloved the one that he cared so much work. Being seen God do incredible things. They were the oldest couple that ever had a child in the whole world. They've been married for over a hundred years. It kept his promise that he wanted to make sure she was buried. and location of the promise

I think the third thing that is important from this is it significance as an excessive investment in God's future promise. I found it really interesting that every single one of the commentary said that they felt like he probably got ripped off and he paid too much money for it from that really interesting, but he didn't bat an eye. Did you notice that he didn't hagel's now when I was in the Middle East?

When I went there in Jerusalem, I was told that if I went to the different vendors and I didn't haggle with them that I was offending them.

And Abraham was probably a shrewd businessman. He could have kind of come out of you friend. I could buy the same plot of land for another guy for 200 shekels. This is too much money. He didn't do that at all. He was willing to pay the excessive price because he believed so strongly in the promise. This is what it says in the Bible knowledge commentary Abraham God's promise. So we made plans for the future by buying the land for his dead. He was forced to realize that God's promises did not end with this life. You see he was making any Eternal investment. In God's promise I cool.

So now it comes down to us. Here's what it says in Hebrews. It says these all died in faith not having received the things promise but having seen them and greeted them from afar. That's kind of what Abraham was doing with me and having acknowledged that they were strangers and Exiles in the land. And that's what he did. He says I am a stranger here. This isn't my land. For the people who spoke that's make it clear that they are seeking a Homeland.

So here's my question to us.

What about us? What what is our life connected to a question?

When you think about your life in the decisions you make how you spend your money how you spend your time? What is your life connected to? What is it saying about your life by all these resources and things that you do? What does it say about the places that you want to be the places that you want your memories? What does it say about the things that immediately come to mind as those most important experiences in your life? What is our life connected to I think it's an important question second of all. What locations in your life do you tend to remember? Which ones are important to you? You're my parents lost their mates. in the sixties in the seventies But out of love for their mates that are passed on every Memorial weekend. They going Place flowers on their graves. Those locations are important to them. I spoke to a man a while ago. I was in a meeting for that southern Baptists of all and he said that he spent his summers in North Dakota doing Trucking I said, oh, where did you live? He says who I lived in Washburn, North Dakota. I said Washburn North Dakota. That's amazing. I said my family is from that area. What church do you go to when you're up there while I go to the First Baptist Church of Washburn? my great-great-grandparents founded that church you see there are certain locations that are important to me.

Underwood North Dakota where my grandparents from is important to me Minot North Dakota where I grew up if that's important to me. Winchester Indiana is important to me these places. What are the locations that you like to remember?

But what promise? Needs an excessive investment in your life.

What promise needs a crazy investment? What's sing all of a sudden without thinking you'll even though it might not be in the budget you'll spend money on.

What kind of things do you dream about?

What do you wish you could Finance?

sweet one more person Hebrews but as it is their desire They desire a better country. That is a Heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he has prepared for them a city. You know. I believe that somehow. If you've accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior. This is your mammary.

This is this connection point this is this point that forever changed your life. If you've asked Jesus Christ to be your personal savior. Your moment of bending your knee at the cross of Jesus Christ is the most life-changing thing in the world. There might even be some of you that today are not willing to do that because you don't want that kind of a life change. You kind of are satisfied with the way things are I can remember a gang member in an inner-city talking to me any event. I said, so what's keeping. You become become a Christian you guys I like drugs and sex too much. He was honest wasn't he? But there were reasons why he didn't want this thing to change him forever.

And I'm pleading with you. If you never become a Christian that this should be your moment. I'm hoping that the cross will be a touch point to a changing moment for you a new epicenter to the middle of your life because you need a savior. You need to ask Jesus Christ to save you and change you forever because you can't bring about that change yourself. You can't forgive yourself for the wrong things that you do. You can't somehow chinny up to a relationship with God. You have to make that decision yourself, and you have to humble yourself and you have to accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Just simple as a prayer that says Jesus Christ, please forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I need a savior. But for those of you who've already made this decision, I'm hoping that this cross

is that thing that affects everything else that you do? I'm praying that the location of where you bend your knee to the Lord that makes a difference but more than that. I am praying that you are excessively investing in something bigger than the Here and Now

That your investment is in the future because I knew where we were going with this message when she says thank you for your investment in me because of her. There are two more clubs, but that's not just because of her. It's because of our investment along with her. And so I encourage each one of us to take a look at our time and our Treasures in our talents and make sure that what we're doing matters Beyond now in the same way Abraham realized I need to pick a place that represents Eternity for my family not just convenience for this day and I'm not willing for anybody to have any strings attached to it. So I am excessively investing in the future of my family. I hope they each one of us is excessively investing. in the kingdom of God I appreciate it what Charlie said and Carolyn when we decided that we were going to be a part of your team. Charlie said this is an easy decision to make this is a sure investment. Because we already knew you when we believe in who you were.

I'm so I know it's hard day's. When you feel like nothing's happening and you're just kind of being buffeted by the wind and nothing's going on and you're going what am I doing? I want you to know that there is a group of people in Lake Placid Indian Lake Placid New York that believed deeply deeply in your ability to medium pack player in the two Kingdom. But I also want everyone of you to know. As a pastor of this church. that I believe that you have an opportunity every one of you to have Deep Impact in the kingdom of God something that is eternal and bigger than the Here and Now

that's why communions appropriate today.

Because communion helps us remember where we began that relationship with the Lord, right?

Acute Union helps us. Remember the excessive cost of God for us. Think about that he who did not spare his own son. I want you to remember that. MSU take your quiet time and prepare for communion that we will hand out in just a minute. I want you to ask the question. Got it by living like I remember. Am I living like the location of the moment that I stepped accepted you as my savior. Does it matter?

And God am I excessively investing in eternity?

I want you to ask those questions as we take these elements together. Now we practice open communion here. If you are a Believer we encourage you to participate with us. We're going to take a couple moments and the practice of this church is becoming this we believe the God calls us to examine Our Lives. And so in The Quiet Moments as the elements are passed out encourage everyone of you to take that time to examine your life. And we also believe that it's important to wait on one another Christian style a lot about waiting. And so as your heart is free, I want you to look up at me and what we might actually take an extra minute or two cuz we're going to wait on each other to make sure that our hearts are free together and I want you just to hold the elements because we want to partake of them together now for some of you you might be in the process of living a life of recovery. I just mentioned this cuz I think it's important for you to know. This is grape juice. We're not going to mess with your your recovery by making you do anything eat that you shouldn't do. But in these next couple moments ask the questions if we could put it back on that slide. These are the questions to ask.

As you prepare your hearts for communion together Becca death for people come and hand out the elements. We will partake of communion together.

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