Abraham Portrays Healthy Grief

Abraham Portrays Healthy Grief

Genesis 23:2 – And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

In this section of Scripture, after 10+ chapters were dedicated to the lives and legacy of Abraham and Sarah, we see something that almost everyone will have to deal with in this life – burying a spouse – as Sarah dies, leaving Abraham a widower.

Do you notice anything curious or interesting about this particular chapter of Genesis? As we read Genesis 23, there are a few unique things to note in this section of Scripture:

  • Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age, death, and burial are mentioned, which is a great honor to her.
  • This is the first official funeral in the Bible.
  • Abraham’s tears at the loss of his wife are the first recording of someone crying in the Bible.
  • She died in faith without seeing the promises God gave them fulfilled: 1) Her son Isaac is in his mid-30’s and would not marry until three years after her passing 2) She did not receive the Promised Land, but was buried there after her death, as Abraham likely wanted to one day resurrect in the place God called them to.

Genesis is an extremely practical book about families, marriages, relationships with siblings, parents, and spouses, and we can see a lot of practical storytelling and application in this account.

Many of you may relate to this story, having lost a parent, spouse, child, or some other loved one. The one thing every person on this earth has in common, up to this point (with the exception of Enoch and Elijah), is that all will face physical death.

Abraham shed the first tears recorded in the Bible and, while everything that happens in the Bible isn’t necessarily a fantastic example to follow, this particular case is one that would heed following. Abraham’s reaction to losing his wife shows men that healthy, regulated emotion is perfectly acceptable, though men are oftentimes portrayed and supposed as less emotional. Even Jesus Himself cried in the shortest recorded verse in the Bible (John 11:35) after the death of His friend Lazarus.

This account also shows the importance of legacy in that, oftentimes, God’s promises to us will not be seen by us but by generations to come. Sarah never made it to the Promised Land, and she never got to see her son Isaac marry the love of his life. But, because she had faith in the God who made these promises, she and her husband Abraham were able to pass that faith along to their kid and to future generations, through whom would ultimately come Jesus Himself.

What have you learned through watching the life of Sarah in the pages of Genesis?

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Mark Driscoll
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