“You will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.”
It is said cynically that in this life only two things are certain – death and taxes. When Abraham’s life was still not yet half gone, God told him of his eventual passing. And 10 chapters later, we read:
Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age,
an old man and full of years;
and he was gathered to his people.
Do you ever think about what might be said at your memorial service? Or what would be appropriate to have chiseled onto your headstone? The tribute to Abraham in the faith chapter of the book of Hebrews would have made a great epitaph.
Here lies Abraham.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. HEBREWS 11:9-10
That’s quite a tribute! At first glance, our response is to say, “What a man!” But we know just enough of Abraham’s makeup and character to conclude that there is more going on here, that God was behind the scenes orchestrating and guiding to guarantee that his promise would not fail.
The tribute to Abraham in Hebrews 11 says more about the God who promised, than it does about the man who received the promises. Simply put, our God finishes what he starts. He is a “hands-on” God, intervening continually in our lives with course corrections that keep us on the road of faith.
As we say “good-bye” to Abraham for now this Sunday, may we be encouraged to press on in our faith, knowing that “he who began a good work in us will carry it on unto completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” PHILIPPIANS 1:6
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. JUDE 1:24-25