Grief Observed

Read This Week: Genesis 23

Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. – Genesis 23:1-2 NIV

In his book, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis wrote, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course, it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not others, and in reality, not thoughts.” These words are indeed true. We know loss is part of life, and we realize that we haven’t found a way to cheat death, but when we are confronted with losing someone near and dear to us, the knowledge that death is inevitable never outweighs the pain when it happens. The confrontation with the reality of death came for Abraham even though he had experienced loss before. But this one hit much differently, much more profound. It was Sarah.

Abraham’s loss of his beloved wife in chapter 23 is a pivotal moment in his life, shedding light on human emotions and the fulfillment of divine promises. It weaves a poignant narrative that explores grief and the enduring legacy of faith. The section begins with her passing at 127. Abraham’s grief is palpable, offering us a glimpse into the depth of their relationship, connection, and the universal experience of loss, as Lewis wrote about. In this passage, we relate to and witness the humanity of this giant biblical figure and spiritual patriarch. Reading verses 1-3 evokes a visceral reaction and is felt by anyone who has mourned or said goodbye to a loved one. It reminds us that even those trusted by God and marked by great faith are not exempt from the pain of farewell. When it says that Abraham wept over her and laid beside her after she died, we are moved by the authenticity of the moment. 

Abraham’s next steps are unexpected yet profound. Instead of seeking solace in his grief, he turns his attention to securing a proper resting place for Sarah. This leads to a fascinating negotiation with the Hittites, revealing the cultural norms of the time and emphasizing the importance of honoring the deceased. Abraham’s insistence on purchasing the cave of Machpelah rather than accepting it as a gift is a noteworthy decision. It speaks to the value of ownership and the recognition that the promises of God are not just for the present generation but are intended to be tangible, lasting legacies for those who follow.

Beyond the cultural insights, this chapter solidifies the connection between Abraham’s family and the Promised Land. Purchasing the burial site isn’t merely a transaction; it is a symbolic claim on the land God promised Abraham and his descendants. He ensures a dignified resting place for Sarah and stakes a claim to fulfilling God’s covenant. Verses 19-20 say that Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in Machpelah field near Mamre (at Hebron) in Canaan. So, the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites.

Genesis 23 gives us so many lessons that are relevant to our lives today. The themes of grief, negotiation, and legacy-building are as applicable today as they were in the time of Abraham. We are reminded of the importance of honoring our loved ones, navigating cultural practices with wisdom, and understanding that our actions today contribute to a legacy that extends beyond our lifetime. It combines the threads of sorrow, cultural nuance, and divine promise. It challenges us to observe grief and reflect on our own approach to loss, the legacies we are building, and the significance of the truths we hold dear. We find a profound exploration of faith, love, and the enduring impact of a life lived in pursuit of God’s promises.


  1. Javaid Ahmed on December 13, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Tough chapter, but God helped me work through it to fully understand. He focused my attention on Genesis 23 verse 11-13.

    11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give[b] you the field, and I give[c] you the cave that is in it. I give[d] it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”
    12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

    God impressed this upon me:
    “What is right? It is guidance from Me to you. Always do what is right and your path will be filled with light.”

    When do what is right then good things happen. When we do what is right then GOD happens. All we need to do is open our hearts to Him. There’s never any coincidences, just Godly incidents.

  2. Trina on December 16, 2023 at 7:41 am

    Genesis Chapter 23 Verse 7
    And Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the Hitites.

    Genesis Chapter 23 Verse 12
    Ben Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land.

    ~God’s Provisions~

    God Is Saying To Me:
    Respect is earned by doing and saying Godly things. Always do everything with me, seeking wisdom to move forward with respect and honor. Respect those around you, acting in reverence to me so that others see me in you. Always proceed with my heart honoring me in your everyday dealings with others and giving honor and respect to others to solidify your relationship and journey with me.

    What This Means To Me:
    We should approach everyday dealings with others with God’s heart. We all need things in our lives and God desires for us to honor and respect Hm while dealing with things in the world. Operate so other see and experience the love and respect for Him and experience His love by our example. Engage with others with a gentle and kind spirit showing others how to live and respect Him in everyday endeavors.
    Thank you Father God for making us in your image so that we get to honor and respect you with our whole heart and let others see You in us and they will want to honor and glorify you as well. ❤️

  3. Heidi on December 16, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Death and Burial of Sarah

    Genesis 23:1 Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; this was the length of the life of Sarah. 2 Sarah died in Kiriath-arba [a](that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
    Faith for the Future
    God was saying to me
    You see Abraham wanting the best for Sarah.
    I want the best for her too!
    He loved Sarah and I loved her too!
    Then there comes a time when you have to prepare before and after.
    I already knew where Abraham would lay Sarah and there would be a place for him right next to her and their children.
    When you’re walking with me I will tell you things for the future, you will do things because I know what’s to come, I love you and I will take care of you and your children, I will give you favor.
    You don’t have to worry about the future because you have faith and you Trust Me.
    Just like Abraham did.
    What this means to me
    I remember my father doing things even when it was hard but because he did it he was taking care of and my mother was taken care of until they went home to be with Jesus!
    And my husband got to be apart of taken care of my mother too because he heard Father God say too!
    I’m so thankful that my dad and mom loved Jesus so much!!

    Thank you Father God that we get to be apart of doing things to help others for You!
    And we have faith for the future because we are walking with you.
    I see You taken care of Abraham, Sarah and their children because they love You and You love them.
    Thank you that You take care of us ❤️️
    Love you ❤️
    Thank you Jesus because Your a good example
    And thank you Holy Spirit that Your always leading us in the right direction ❤️

  4. PK Chat on December 17, 2023 at 10:03 am

    Reflecting on our reputation, it’s important to consider how we are perceived by God. This goes beyond our image in society, delving into our relationship with the Lord.

    When assessing our reputation with God, it prompts us to evaluate if we are living according to His teachings. Are we faithful, dependable, and righteous? This introspection is crucial for aligning our lives with God’s will.

    Many of us aim to be recognized for kindness, reliability, and integrity, qualities that are esteemed in our interactions with others and by God. Striving for these virtues is a reflection of our commitment to live in a manner pleasing to God.

    1. Life is full of challenges, and it’s our response to these, guided by our faith in God, that defines our character.
    2. Demonstrating goodness and faithfulness, both towards others and in our relationship with God, often leads to support and guidance, both from our community and, as we believe, from God Himself.
    3. In the end, the reputation we build, marked by love, faithfulness, and moral integrity, is not only fulfilling for us but also positively impacts those around us, in line with God’s teachings.

  5. reachchurch on December 17, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    This Week in the Life: Genesis 23

    For the best experience, we suggest you listen to the first song, the message, and the second song.

    1. Sunday Worship – First Song:
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    3. Sunday Worship – Second Song:

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