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Genesis 23:19-20 - Homilies By R.a. Redford

The death and burial of Sarah.

I. TRUE RELIGION SANCTIFIES NATURAL RELATIONSHIPS . Those who know themselves blessed of God do not only feel that their human affections are precious and true, but do, in obedience to his will, preserve the greatest respect for their bodily frame, and for their dead who died in the Lord, and whose dust is committed tenderly to his keeping.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD WERE UPHELD BY FAITH IN THEIR CARE FOR THE DEAD . They looked beyond the grave. Some say there is no evidence of the doctrine of immortality in the Old Testament until after the captivity Surely Abraham's feelings were not those of one who sorrowed without hope . The purchase of the field, the securing possession for all time of the burying-place, pointed to faith, not the lack of it. Where there is no sense of immortality there is no reverence for the dead.

III. THE PURCHASE OF THE FIELD was not only its security, but a testimony to the heathen that the people of God held in reverence both the memory of the dead and the rights of the living. All social prosperity has its root in religious life.— R .

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