Death comes a shock to most people.
Trust me; as a pastor, I’m often one of the first people to find out about someone’s death. Even though the person who died might have been very old and in very poor health, the people who loved him or her are often surprised when that person dies.
The first four verses here in Genesis 25 tell us that Abraham had another life after Sarah died. He remarried (v. 1) and had a bunch of new kids (v. 2). But then Abraham died. He lived a long time (vv. 7-8), but not forever.
Such is life for all of us unless Jesus returns before our turn to die arrives.
So we shouldn’t be too surprised as we get older when other people ahead of us chronologically and even those around our age start dying.
Nor should we be surprised that death is coming for each of us. We might not want to think about it, but we should prepare for it whether we want to prepare or not.
That’s what Abraham did here in Genesis 25:1-10. He prepared for his death. Notice that:
- His heirs were all provided for. Isaac was the covenant child, the one whom God had chosen to receive the blessing and promise of becoming a great nation (vv. 5, 11). But Abraham made sure that each of his other children was provided for before he died (v. 6).
- His children knew his burial wishes (vv. 9-10). There was no family drama about where he would be buried or who was in charge of the arrangements. Isaac and Ishmael were in charge and he was to be buried with Sarah, his original wife and the wife of promise for him.
There is no reason to deny yourself the joys of life just because you are old and don’t know when you might die (vv. 1-4). Go ahead and get remarried if your spouse dies before you do.
But you shouldn’t act like you’re going to live forever, either (vv. 5-6), and Abraham’s actions at the end of his life provide an excellent example for us. So:
- Do you you have a will or trust that provides for your children if you die before they are adults?
- Does your will or trust indicate how the assets you own upon your death should be distributed?
- Do your children or someone else you trust know where your will is and can they get it when you die?
- Do you have life insurance to pay your funeral expenses at least? How about enough insurance to give them a financial blessing after you’re gone?
- Do your children know where you want to be buried?
- Have you left instructions about who should prepare your body for the grave, what your funeral should be like, and where you should be buried?
As important as it was to prepare on earth for his death, it was more important that Abraham was prepared spiritually for his death. Abraham’s death on earth did not mean the end of his existence. Note that v. 8b say that Abraham “was gathered to his people.” This can’t mean that he died because we were already told that he died in verse 8a. It also can’t mean that he was buried because we were told about his burial in verse 9.
Therefore, the phrase, “gathered to his people” describes Abraham’s life after death. Because he believed God, he was welcomed into eternity with other believers. The most important act of preparation for death is to know that you will be saved on the day of judgment. That comes only through faith in God by Jesus Christ.
But the second most important aspect of preparing for your death has to do with the spiritual instruction of your children (v. 5, 11, 21-23). While Abraham was alive, he taught his son spiritually (vv. 21-23). He taught him what it meant to trust in God (v. 21). He taught him how to lead his family in trusting God (vv. 22-23).
Are you prepared if death comes soon or suddenly? You can apply this passage to your life by taking some or all of the action steps that Abraham took in this chapter.