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Above all else, today’s focus chapters teach us the great importance of the family in God’s plan of happiness.
Chapter 23 tells us about Sarah’s death. Abraham goes all out to make sure his beloved wife has a beautiful sacred burial place. It’s really very moving reading his conversation with Ephron the Hittite.
Ephron owns the land and cave Abraham wants to use for Sarah’s tomb. Ephron offers to simply give it as a gift because of the great respect he has for the man. Abraham insists, however, and purchases the land in Machpelah for its value of 400 shekels.
Here, we see the great love Abraham had for Sarah. She was his faithful companion throughout his travels. She supported him in his quest to follow the Lord at all costs. She gave him a beloved son. Being willing to spare no expense for a fitting sepulcher was the least Abraham could do to honor his wife’s memory.
Next, in chapter 24, Abraham instructs his head servant to find a wife for Isaac from among his kindred. This results in Isaac marrying Rebekah.
The takeaway here is the love of a father. Abraham desired his son’s happiness. He wanted to see Isaac receive the fullness of the blessings promised under the Abrahamic Covenant. That’s why he didn’t want him to take a wife from among the Canaanites. A Canaanite woman lead Isaac’s heart astray from the Lord.
Abraham preferred to give up great treasures to his daughter-in-law’s family to make sure she came from a righteous household. Just as he spared no expense for Sarah’s burial, Abraham spared no expense to make sure his son married a good woman.
And what does Abraham do after that? He remarries and has more children. He has to send them away eventually to avoid the kind of familial conflicts that often arose over inheritances and that would impede God’s plan. But he made sure to give them great gifts.
Abraham was a guy who lived for his family. Family life was the kind of life he preferred–even in his extreme old age.
And that’s the mindset he passed onto his children. Notice that after his death, Isaac and Ishmael meet up to bury their dad. The example Abraham set was was strong enough that, after everything that had happened, these two grown men were able to let bygones be bygones and come together when it mattered most.
Later on, Isaac and Rebekah experience difficulty having children, as had been the case with Abraham and Sarah. Ultimately, Rebekah offers a fervent prayer to God and is able to conceive.
This goes to show the high value they placed on children. For them, having and rearing kids was an essential part of life. It was what they aspired to and what they planned their lives around.
These stories teach us how important the family is for God and how important it should be for us. The tender bonds between man and wife, between parent and child, produce a happiness that no other earthly society can emulate. Nowadays, so many people downplay family life. People think of marriage and children as burdens.
There’s nothing further from the truth. Abraham, Isaac, and (later) Jacob were devout family men. That didn’t hinder them from accomplishing great things. On the contrary, God blessed them and made them great because of the lives they were to bring into this world.
Careers, recognitions, passions, and hobbies are great. But we should never let them overshadow what’s most important. Let’s remember that we’re God’s family, His children. And we’re the center of His work and glory. Let’s strive to follow his example and to live the Gospel more fully so that our families can always prosper.