Following in the Footsteps of Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:26
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Following In The Footsteps Of Faith Sermon #16
Genesis 23:1-20
Intro: We have been privileged to walk with Abraham through the peaks and valleys of a life well lived. We have seen him leave his homeland to walk with God by faith. We have witnessed his successes and his failures. We have seen him as he experienced the joy of childbirth and watched as he willingly gave that child up to the will of the Lord. Abraham’s life has been filled with the best and the worst that life can dish out.
Genesis 22 took this man to the pinnacle of faith and obedience. This chapter takes into the depths of the valley of the shadow of death. Here, as we watch him say goodbye to his wife, Sarah, we see a man who has learned to walk by faith as he weathers the storms of life.
This morning, I would like for us to watch Abraham in these verses as he teaches us how to live a life of faith even when tragedy enters our view.
I want to preach on the thought of Standing Up Before The Dead for a while.


A. The Sadness Of Separation

We are told that Abraham’s wife of some 70 years has died. This kind of separation is part of everyone’s life, Heb. 9:27
Hebrews 9:27 KJV 1900
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
But when it comes, we are never quite prepared for the hurt it brings.
Thank God, the cruel messenger of death will be done away with forever one day, Rev. 21:4
Revelation 21:4 KJV 1900
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
1 Corinthians 15:26 KJV 1900
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

B. The Sting Of Sorrow

- When death entered the home of Abraham, it broke his heart. The Bible says that he came to “mourn” and to “weep”. These words mean “to wail” and to “shed tears”, respectively.
By the way, this is a natural reaction to death! There are times when we hear people tell us not to weep over our dead, but when they are stripped from our presence, it is impossible not to weep for and miss them.
F. B. Meyer said, “Tears relieve the burning brain, as a shower the electric clouds. Tears discharge the insupportable agony of the hearer as an overflow lessens the pressure of the flood against the dam. Tears are the material out of which heaven weaves its brightest rainbows. Tears are transmuted into the jewels of a better life, as the wounds in the oyster turn to pearls.
When death has intruded into the land of the living, do not fear their cleansing, needful ministry in your life.

C. The Strength Of Steadfastness

- The Bible tells us that “Abraham stood up from before his dead”. This means that when the mourning period was over, Abraham moved on with his life. You see, grief is a normal part of living, but there is a time when grief must reach an end.
Sorrow over death is natural, but sorrow that does not end is unnatural.
(Ill. A woman told me yesterday that she has grieved for her parents for over 15 years. Folks that is not godly sorrow!)
We are told in the Bible, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”, 1 Thes. 4:13. May we learn to rejoice over our loved ones who have entered the next phase of their existence, 2 Cor. 5:8
2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV 1900
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
One day, we will join them there!
It was a time of farewells


(Ill. Abraham has been given all the land by the promise of God. However, He does not own one square inch of the land at this point. He goes to speak to the men of the city to acquire a place to bury the dead.)

A. V. 4a Abraham Declares His Identity

- He tells the men of the city that he is still a pilgrim among them. He has lived here for some 62 years at this point, but he has never settled down. He says he is a “newcomer” and is just one “passing through.” Even after all this time, he has never put down his roots in this world.
(Ill. What a lesson to the children of God! As long as our roots do not go too deep in this world, we will not become too entangled in its affairs. May we never forget our identity! We are pilgrims and strangers in this world.
1 Peter 2:11 KJV 1900
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Let us so live and not settle down, but keep traveling, looking for that city that will be our eternal home!

B. V. 4b-16 Abraham Demonstrates His Integrity

- In order to secure a place to bury his wife, Abraham strikes a deal with one of the sons of Heth, a man by the name of Ephron. Abraham mentions a certain piece of property and Ephron offers to give it to him, but Abraham refuses because he does not want to be indebted to any man, v. 13.
(Ill. This is a good lesson for every child of God! We need to beware that we owe no man anything but love, Rom. 13:8
Romans 13:8 KJV 1900
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
When Ephron sees that he has the advantage over Abraham, he charges him far more than fair price, but instead of standing up for himself, Abraham humbly accepts the offer.
(Note: Having to pay for land that God has promised to give him might have caused many men to stumble, but Abraham was able to see beyond the present into a future where it was all his anyway.)
Even in trials, Abraham was a man of integrity! How you conduct yourself when the pressure is on says more about you than how you act when things are good!
One of the best examples in the Bible of integrity under pressure is Job, Job 1:20-22
Job 1:20–22 KJV 1900
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
It was a time of farewells
It was a time of faithfulness


(Ill. The fact that Abraham buried his wife in the cave in Hebron shows the depths of his faith in the Lord God. Of course, Abraham’s faith is well known and documented, even in the New Testament.
Turn and Read Hebrews 11.8-19
Hebrews 11:13–16 KJV 1900
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

In Abraham’s life, we can see faith exhibited in three areas.

A. We See His Faith In The Promises Of God

- He was able to buy the cave with confidence seeing that he already owned the land in trust. It had been given to him by the precious promise of God, Gen. 13:15-17.
He knew that one day, he and his descendants would be buried in this very cave.
But, he was able, by faith, to see far beyond this.
He was able to see a day when he would stand with Sarah, in the presence of the Lord in Heaven, Heb. 11:9-10
Hebrews 11:9–10 KJV 1900
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
(Note: This same faith dwelled in the heart of Job, Job 19:25-27
Job 19:25–27 KJV 1900
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, Yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And mine eyes shall behold, and not another; Though my reins be consumed within me.
It should dwell in our hearts as well, John 14:1-3
John 14:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
When we are able to look beyond the present to the things we have been given in promise, by faith, it secures the heart, frees the mind, and strengthens the hands to work.
When we know we are going home someday, it makes the trials of this journey bearable!)

B. We See His Faith In The Plan Of God

- Abraham knew that even as he buried Sarah here, there would come a day when his descendants would inherit this land and would dwell there. Because of this great knowledge, Abraham was able to endure his grief, his pain, and his losses.
He knew that God’s plan is always best, Rom. 8:28
Romans 8:28 KJV 1900
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
(Note: If we could ever grasp that truth, it would change our lives! It would spell the end of our second guessing, our worrying, and our “whys?” and “What if’s.”)
(Note: God has a perfect plan and is not meant to hurt you, but it is meant to produce His image in your life, Rom. 8:29. It is meant to glorify His name and further His kingdom in this world. The best thing we can ever do is to submit humbly and wholly to what the Lord is doing in and around us!)

C. We See His Faith In The Power Of God

- Even as he stared death in the face, Abraham was able to walk in victory because he knew that he was serving a God Who controlled all the affairs of life and of death! He knew that even though his pain was great, and his loss was terrible, in the end, he would come out as a winner because God resides on the throne!
(Note: Would to God we could recognize it today! We are not going to be in this world with all its pain and heartache forever! The day is coming when we will leave this world for a new home in glory. When that day comes, we will enjoy the victory!
The bottom line is this: I have read the conclusion of the book! We have already won all there is to win, and we must just wait until the victory we already hold by faith is beheld by the eyes!)
There are times when we all look at an impossible situation and wonder how much more we can take. Let me tell you now that God’s grace is sufficient for you in everything you will face in this life, 2 Cor. 12:9.
He will give you the grace to stand up from your dead and to go on for His glory until the battle is over. I do not know what you might be facing today, but I do know that faith is where your victory lies, 1 John 5:4
1 John 5:4 KJV 1900
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

What do I need to stand up from?

What will it take to get you to stand up from your dead?
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