Parashat Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah)
Beresheet (Genesis) 23:1–25:8
Isn’t it interesting how we can read God’s Word again and again, putting emphasis on certain accounts and miracles, while completely missing others? For example, we all know and have learned about the incredible miracle of Abraham and Sara giving birth to Isaac in their advanced age, but how many of us realize that another miracle occurred after Sarah died:
Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. And she bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. And Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah. Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac; but to the sons of his concubines, Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the land of the east.
I believe that the verse above holds some great significance for a couple of reasons:
- After Sara died, Abraham took another wife and had six more children with her; Abraham was well past 100 years old at this point. This is yet another big miracle that we cannot ignore! Our God is Almighty, all-powerful, and once again, we see that He can do things beyond our imagination. We can’t put God in a box and we can’t limit His amazing power!
- We see that even in these verses, Abraham was faithful to remember God’s plan and covenant through Isaac his son, “Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac”. A few days ago, a good friend asked my parents who from their five sons is their favorite, to which my mom replied, “They are all the same”. In Abraham’s story we see the struggle that he had at times to be fair with his children, as he loved them. However, Abraham knew that God’s plan was to continue with Isaac and he was faithful to keep his end of the covenant.
We also find in this week’s reading the tragic reality that, in spite of knowing the promises of God, we still live in sinful bodies, and that it is crucial for us to not repeat the sins of our fathers. In Genesis 20, we find Abraham settling in Gerar, and there he tells Abimelech the King of Gerar that Sarah is his sister out of fear for his life. And we find Isaac doing the same thing with his wife, Rebekah, despite the fact that God had reaffirmed His covenant with him! (Genesis 26:1–5):
So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful.
Isaac repeated the same sin of his father, but amazingly, God still showed His unlimited faithfulness and grace to Isaac, just like He did to Abraham… and just like He does for us today.
My dear brothers and sisters, at times we do repeat the same mistakes of our parents, our siblings, and our friends. And sometimes, we even use them as an excuse for doing it and blame others for our wrongdoing. But we are not slaves to our past, our family history, or to our impulses! Messiah Yeshua has set us free from all these things – we need only to take hold of the victory He has already given us. (John 8:36)
I would like to encourage each of us this week to take the time and reflect upon our own personal lives… Are there areas in our lives that we are doing something wrong and blame others for it? Are there areas in our lives that we are doing something wrong and blame others as an excuse to justify our own wrongdoing?
There’s no better time than now to reflect, repent, and turn back to God! He is always waiting for us with open arms, full of love, and void of condemnation.