Sunday, 05 August 2007 00:00

How a Believer Handles Death: What the World Gives is Left Behind

Genesis 23:19-20 (KJV)

And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.

This burial plot for Sarah is significant for a couple of reasons:

  1. The cave of Machpelah is mentioned throughout the Old Testament as the burial place of not only Sarah, but Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah. It is venerated by the Jews as "The Tomb of the Patriarchs."
  2. It is the only piece of land in Canaan that Abraham ever owned. Abraham only had a tomb.

The lesson for us all? What the world gives us is left behind. When Paul wrote to young Timothy he encouraged him to remember this simple truth—"We brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and raiment let us be content. But they that will be rich fall into..." (I Timothy 6:7-9).



  1. Those who miss the lesson of Abraham's tomb fall into problems.
    The problems come not for those who are rich, but those who "covet" riches or wealth. "Some rich men are good men, and do much good with their riches and are as free from temptations and snares, and foolish and hurtful lusts as Abraham." (John Gill)
    1. The desire to be rich leads to powerful temptations (v.9).
      To fall is different from jumping. A desire to be wealthy progresses to other desires.
    2. The desire to be rich leads to personal traps (v.9).
      The Bible calls it a "snare" and it is the same word used for "the snare of the devil" in I Timothy 3:7. The devil sets a trap in order to cath you. It may be a trap where you have to choose between family and riches.
    3. The desire to be rich leads to painful troubles (v.9).
      You can't blame all your problems on the devil. If you seek to be wealthy, there are "many foolish and hurtful lusts" which will sink you in the end.
  2. Those who miss the lesson of Abraham's tomb fear for the future.
    The person who clutches to his possessions seeks to live to enjoy those possessions. But he who has learned to be satisfied in Christ has learned to live for the kingdom. John Paton, missionary to the cannibals of the New Hebrides, once said this to an old man who tried to talk him out of going by saying, "Son, you will be eaten by cannibals!" John Paton responded: "You are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my Resurrection body will rise as fair as yours."
  3. Those who miss the lesson of Abraham's tomb forget who they are.
    The word "content" in I Timothy 6:7 is the word "self-sufficient." "The person in relationship with Christ is a person whose happiness should be independent of outward circumstances, enabling him to maintain a spiritual equilibrium" K. Wuest. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (v.7). The phrase "it is certain" (hoti) is better translated "because." So Paul is saying, "We brought nothing into this world, because we can carry nothing out." Nothing this world gives is any addition to who I am as a person. All I have is my relationship with Jesus Christ. I cam into this world created by Him. I leave this world to go be with Him.

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