The Rev. William Klock: Two more sermons on Genesis
From the Rev. William Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia, here are two more sermons in his series on Genesis:
In the first of these messages, Fr. Bill takes the account in Genesis 23 about Abraham’s purchase of a burial plot for Sarah and points out that this was indeed an act of faith:
The story ends with Abraham burying Sarah in the tomb. He does what he sets out to do: to give his wife a fitting burial according to his custom. But more important than the custom is the fact that all of this is an act of faith on Abraham’s part. Thirty-eight years later, Abraham will be placed in that same tomb, and as time goes on Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah will all express their faith by being buried there too. None of them had any more claim on the land than Abraham did. They were all sojourners and foreigners there, but they all believed God’s promise that in time their children would inherit it. And that’s the point and the real focus of this chapter of Genesis. This is why the story is so full of ancient “legalese” and the details of Abraham’s negotiations to purchase the tomb and the field. Abraham’s purchase of this property and his burial of Sarah there was an act of faith. God had promised him the land and here he takes the opportunity to put down a root for his family in the full expectation that, given time, God will fulfil his promise.
Abraham’s example should encourage us to walk in faith, trusting in God’s promises even when we can’t see how they’re going to come about. He was a sojourner and a foreigner in a strange land and yet God had promised that one day it would belong to his children, and so he acted in faith and made an investment in the land God had promised.
Abraham is a type of every Christian. We too are strangers and sojourners in a land that is not truly our own. This is where we have to make a bit of a leap. Abraham’s faith was in God’s promise of an earth kingdom and so he made an earthy investment. You and I have put our faith in God’s promise of a spiritual kingdom, and this is why Jesus calls us to lay up treasures in heaven instead of laying up treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal. Trusting God is often a challenge for many of us. We’d rather play it safe and keep one foot in the world “just in case”. But if we do that, we’re not really trusting God. Brothers and sisters, Abraham should encourage us to walk by faith. The Old Testament is a witness to God making good on his plans of the earth inheritance that he promised to Abraham. And consider that the New Testament is a witness to the fulfilment of the even better spiritual inheritance that had been promised. We truly are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”, as the writer of Hebrews tells us. Abraham is there along with all the other saints who have trusted in the promises of the Father and found them fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Let us trust God too; let us live with both our feet firmly planted in the kingdom of heaven; let us live in joyful expectation of the fulfilment of God’s promises of provision, of restoration, and of new life.
As Fr. Bill points out, Hebrews 11 tells us about Abraham’s living by faith – let us strive to live by faith just as he did.