CHRIST THE ROCK CONGREGATION
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 2019
Sermon by Pastor Marc E Simeon
HELP! I NEED A SEPULCHER TO BURY MY WIFE SARA
PITIÉ ! J’AI BESOIN D’UN SÉPULCRE POUR ENSEVELIR MA FEMME SARA
Ge 23:3 ¶ Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
Ge 23:3 ¶ Abraham se leva de devant son mort, et parla ainsi aux fils de Heth: 4 Je suis étranger et habitant parmi vous; donnez-moi la possession d’un sépulcre chez vous, pour enterrer mon mort et l’ôter de devant moi.
- Sara, the beloved wife of Abraham and the mother of the patriarch Isaac has come to the end of her days at the age of 127.
- The barren woman whom God had made to become a laughing stock by assisting her to carry a child at the age of 91 has come to the end of her earthly pilgrimage.
- The knockout gorgeous woman who maintained her beauty and her delicateness all the way to adulthood has breathed her last breath.
- The most ideal wife who respected her husband so much to the point of calling him lord has now expired.
- Sara died full of age to see her only son Isaac turned to a full blown adult.
- Abraham, after having mourned the passing of his wife for the number of days according to the customs of that time is now faced with another problem.
- He must have asked himself: “Now, where am I going to burry my dead wife?”
- We know that Abraham settled in Beer-Sheba and now we see that Sara died in Hebron which is 24 miles away. Some commentators have suggested that Abraham might have had several feeding places in Canaan because of the large stock of animals he possessed.
- Though he might have had lands elsewhere, here in Hebron, he presented himself as a stranger.
- Although Abraham was rich and well to do, he had a great reputation and a great testimony among the people of Hebron. Abraham was universally loved and respected by all the people of Hebron.
- Today, by the grace of God, today we are going to learn many practical lessons in that transaction that took place between Abraham and the children of Hebron in search for a place to bury his beloved Sara.
Ge 23:1 ¶ La vie de Sara fut de cent vingt-sept ans: telles sont les années de la vie de Sara.
2 Sara mourut à Kirjath-Arba, qui est Hébron, dans le pays de Canaan; et Abraham vint pour mener deuil sur Sara et pour la pleurer.
3 ¶ Abraham se leva de devant son mort, et parla ainsi aux fils de Heth:
4 Je suis étranger et habitant parmi vous; donnez-moi la possession d’un sépulcre chez vous, pour enterrer mon mort et l’ôter de devant moi.
- Isaac must have been 36 years of age when his mom died. We know that Sara did not get the chance to see grand children because Isaac had not yet met his wife Rebecca.
- We do not know exactly about the circumstances that caused that the last days of Sara were spent in Hebron. We know that the business that Abraham was in required him to be constantly on the move in search for greener pastures for his livestock.
- The people of Canaan were generally wicked but considering how well the people of Hebron treated Abraham, it seemed that Abraham might have made the preference for Sara to spend her last days there and to be buried there as well.
- There were still some good in them that’s why God told Abraham that it was going to take 400 years before they reach the unbearable point for God to pour out judgment upon them.
- Verse 2 stresses that Abraham came for the burial of Sara, meaning that his main residence was not in Hebron.
- Verse 3 indicates a custom of mourning that must have been particular to that region at that time. Seemingly, Abraham spent days seating down in front of the dead body or likewise gestures.
- Verse 4. Abraham went in the town office or the city hall of our day terminology where the elders and the rulers would conduct legal affairs and exchange or to address the complaint of the people.
- Abraham used the best prudence and choice of words to make his case.
- I am a stranger among you
- I have a huge problem
- I need your assistance
- I need your favor
- I need a place to bury my wife.
- I consulted a few translations, no where have I found that Abraham had asked to purchase a land at first although the Creole version did a though for though translation here to render it selling.
- Following the logical pattern of the narrative, I believe that Abraham had asked it as favor while his true intention was for purchase.
- To demand to purchase a burial field would probably be offensive, whereby to ask for it as a favor seemed to have been acceptable.
- Abraham was girded by Godly wisdom in his address to the inhabitants of Hebron.
- People skills are in great demand these days.
- People acquire the hard skills at school, but the soft skills, the people skills are far more important.
- Knowing the proper way to approach people and the proper time to address a subject is paramount
5 Les fils de Heth répondirent à Abraham, en lui disant:
6 Écoute-nous, mon seigneur! Tu es un prince de Dieu au milieu de nous; enterre ton mort dans celui de nos sépulcres que tu choisiras; aucun de nous ne te refusera son sépulcre pour enterrer ton mort.
- The sons of Heth had great esteem for Abraham. They considered him as a prince of God among them.
- They might have observed the loyalty of Abraham toward His God.
- They might have known about how Abraham was on the verge of killing His beloved son Isaac in obedience to the command of God.
- They might have seen the earthly blessings that God bestowed upon Abraham.
- They might have observed how his presence was a blessing for the whole region.
- They might have heard How Abraham intervene with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah.
- People are observing the strength of your relationship to God.
7 Abraham se leva, et se prosterna devant le peuple du pays, devant les fils de Heth.
8 Et il leur parla ainsi: Si vous permettez que j’enterre mon mort et que je l’ôte de devant mes yeux, écoutez-moi, et priez pour moi Éphron, fils de Tsochar,
9 de me céder la caverne de Macpéla, qui lui appartient, à l’extrémité de son champ, de me la céder contre sa valeur en argent, afin qu’elle me serve de possession sépulcrale au milieu de vous.
- Follow the great wisdom of Abraham here.
- The first gentle approach of Abraham by going to the proper authority gained him some more favor. Abraham knew the value of respecting jurisdiction.
- Abraham got the favor to bury his wife among them, but he wanted something more. Abraham wanted a place of his own to bury his wife.
- In Verse 7, Abraham took it one more nock. He went on his knees before the people of Hebron and before the ruling leaders to ask for one more favor.
- Had Abraham forgotten his protocols, demanding to purchase the sepulcher of someone could probably be an arrogant demand.
- Abraham then decided to express the real demand that he came to make.
- Notice that the owner of the land was in the audience, but Abraham did not speak to him directly.
- As of asking for un unmerited favor, Abraham urged the rulers and the people of Hebron to beg Ephron for him to persuade him to sell the sepulcer to him so that he could bury his wife Sara.
10 Éphron était assis parmi les fils de Heth. Et Éphron, le Héthien, répondit à Abraham, en présence des fils de Heth et de tous ceux qui entraient par la porte de sa ville:
11 Non, mon seigneur, écoute-moi! Je te donne le champ, et je te donne la caverne qui y est. Je te les donne, aux yeux des fils de mon peuple: enterre ton mort.
12 Abraham se prosterna devant le peuple du pays.
13 Et il parla ainsi à Éphron, en présence du peuple du pays: Écoute-moi, je te prie! Je donne le prix du champ: accepte-le de moi; et j’y enterrerai mon mort.
14 Et Éphron répondit à Abraham, en lui disant:
15 Mon seigneur, écoute-moi! Une terre de quatre cents sicles d’argent, qu’est-ce que cela entre moi et toi? Enterre ton mort.
- Abraham still had some more convincing to do.
- Abraham did not leave his house in search for a freebie.
- Abraham knew that receiving that gift would work against him in latter time.
- Isaac got in a lot of trouble when he latter wanted to use the cisterns that his father dough because the people of the town made claims of them.
- People don’t generally like it when strangers have higher economic means of living than them in their own lands.
- The Jews have suffered and are still under all kinds of threats because of their material blessings more than anything else.
- Abraham insisted on a price.
- The words “I sell” or “I buy” never came out, yet the transaction went on to completion.
- Both sides understood each other and the friendship preserved.
- Some offers are not gifts but traps.
- Abraham did not try to use his situation to bring the price down.
- Abraham did not say, “I will pay later”, “I will give you my answer tomorrow”.
- Right there and then, the matter was settled.
16 ¶ Abraham comprit Éphron; et Abraham pesa à Éphron l’argent qu’il avait dit, en présence des fils de Heth, quatre cents sicles d’argent ayant cours chez le marchand.
- Se afè granmoun kap regle la-a.
- Kreyol pale, kreyol konprann.
17 Le champ d’Éphron à Macpéla, vis-à-vis de Mamré, le champ et la caverne qui y est, et tous les arbres qui sont dans le champ et dans toutes ses limites alentour,
18 devinrent ainsi la propriété d’Abraham, aux yeux des fils de Heth et de tous ceux qui entraient par la porte de sa ville.
- The matter was settled right there and then. Abraham got what he wanted.
- He wanted to burial place not just for Sara but for all his descendants after him.
- He wanted the people of the town to be involved so that they would not revolt against him latter.
- He didn’t want to have a private affair with the owner which could be interpreted differently by latter generations.
- He didn’t want a favor or piety; he wanted to pay the full value for it.
- What we learn from Abraham is that, it is imperative to complete all transactions when it comes to buying a property.
- A lot of disputes result from improper transaction.
- In the presence of the officials, all the transactions were taken care.
- Abraham had full legality over the land and the whole town witnessed it.
- Although the favor of God was with Abraham, but he still had to handle all his businesses properly and respectfully.
- Both sides came out happy.
- Abraham was not forced to do something he didn’t want to do, and Ephron, though was willing to give the land to Abraham came out happier with 400 pieces of silver in his sack.
19 Après cela, Abraham enterra Sara, sa femme, dans la caverne du champ de Macpéla, vis-à-vis de Mamré, qui est Hébron, dans le pays de Canaan.
20 Le champ et la caverne qui y est demeurèrent à Abraham comme possession sépulcrale, acquise des fils de Heth.
- Abraham had to put all his emotions aside to carry out the business of purchasing a burial ground for his wife and his generation after that.
- Now, Abraham could finally schedule the burial ceremony of his beloved wife Sara.
- What an enormous wisdom we see in display in this narrative. When your blessings come from God, along with them comes the wisdom to manage them.
- How a foreigner is to conduct himself in a foreign country is evidenced here.
- How to secure a better future for your children is evidenced here.
- How prudence and proper protocols can save the day is evidenced here in this narrative.
SOME PARRALELS PRACTICAL LESSONS
- Abraham was discrete not to disclose the proper reason why he refused the free land to bury his wife alongside the heathens.
- Proper approaches are necessary in our dealings with others
- Free gifts can become very costly in latter times
- The love of Abraham for Sara did not start after her death to make a good show.
- A lot of people love to overspend in funerals to show the world how much they the deceased meant to them when in reality it can be a lie.
- People need to think ahead about their death.
- People need to know how much it cost to have an average funeral these days.
- People need to secure the money and the details for their burial before they die.
- People need to do a will as to what to do with your body when you die. Plan A or B or C.
- People need to be instructed about life insurance.
- I heard people selfishly say:
Zafè-k gade yo; ya degage yo avè-m.
Mete’m nan yon sak ; lage-m nan yon trou, oubyen boule’m si yo vle. ki mele’m ?
- Burial process is important
- Dignity and respect are important in how we burry our dead
- Honoring the deceased’s last wishes is very important in how we bury our dead
- Reflection of financial means can be moderately displayed when we bury our dead, meaning that if the person had the means necessary for a first class funeral, that should not be denied.
- Do not force a person to accept a present only to make the giver feel good. (pa fòse moun aksepte yon prezan)
- The best gift for Abraham was for them to honor his request.
- Securing a property is by far one of the best move that anyone can do in his or her lifetime.
- Notice that no party was trying to take advantage over the other, (the price was right for both)
- The transaction was transparent and amicable.
- No pressure, no hassles, no dishonesty. (pa gen koupe kou, pa gen ma gentan peye’w !)
- Brotherly love was applied, it was not about the money but more about civility.
- Abraham was prudent not to accept the gift thinking of the future
- The purchase of the land gave Abraham a legal right in that country
IN CONCLUSION I want to give everyone an assignment:
- Everyone is urged to put your house in order as if you were counting days to die.
- Make a copy of all your important documents.
- Write a detail of all the people you owe or who owed you.
- Discuss with your love ones your wishes for your funeral. (place of burial, style of burial, funeral home, favorite songs and scriptures, food arrangement, pastor of priest to conduct your funeral.
- Discuss what clothe you wish to wear, coffin style etc, if that is important for you.
- Secure a spot in the cemetery
- Make sure you know how your life insurance will play out.
- Have someone to overlook your life insurance policy to avoid surprises.
- Avoid making wishes to show grudges you had with someone.
- Let everyone know if you belonged to some secret societies that have certain rights over your dead bodies for their own rituals.
May God add His Blessings to his Words!