Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah)

Torah: Genesis 23:1 – 25:18 Haftarah: I Kings 1:1-31 Brit Chadasha: John 14:1-31

Hit the Road Jack

All throughout Scripture we see a common thread that the Eternal weaves in and out of His Scripture.  That thread is ‘separation’.  YHVH always has wanted His people to be separated or separate from the nations.  This is not only in the Older Test. but is found in the Newer Test. as well.  So as we carry on in our daily lives we should always be conscientious of are we really separating ourselves from the temptations and wickedness of the world?  Over the past few portions we have seen some evidence that point to this thought of separation.  Let’s see what we can find this week about separation.  First we need to review briefly.  Abraham was commanded to leave his father’s house & covering, his relatives, and his land.

And יהוה said to Aḇram, “Go yourself out of your land, from your relatives and from your father’s house, to a land which I show you. Genesis 12:1

We find Abraham obeying part of what he was commanded to do but not all.

“And I shall make you a great nation, and bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing! “And I shall bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you. And in you all the clans of the earth shall be blessed.” So Aḇram left, as יהוה had commanded him, and Lot went with him. And Aḇram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Ḥaran. And Aḇram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the beings whom they had acquired in Ḥaran, and they set out for the land of Kenaʽan. And they came to the land of Kenaʽan. Genesis 12:2-5

YHVH told him to separate himself.  I know many times in our lives separation is very tough especially from family members and homes but never the less it is in many cases ordained by the Father as in this case with Abraham and we will see another case at the end of his life of separation.

It is my opinion that Abraham actually delayed the blessings that the Father wanted to give him.  We see the Father tell him he is going to bless him and add to him and so forth but it isn’t until Abraham leaves Egypt and finally separates from Lot until the show gets on the road.

And after Lot had separated from him, יהוה said to Aḇram, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land which you see I shall give to you and your seed forever. “And I shall make your seed as the dust of the earth, so that, if a man could count the dust of the earth, then your seed also could be counted. “Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17

What happens when we drag along our loved ones when YHVH specifically tells us to do something, and are commanded to leave them behind and seek Him with our whole heart?  We actually limit the blessings. There is consequences when we don’t separate when Yahweh tells us to.  The creator didn’t continue on with the plan that He promised Abraham until he separated from the baggage.  Could the reason that the plan on your life or ministry that Yahweh gave you is not being fulfilled be because you have a “Lot” in your life?

Are there areas and things in our lives that we need to separate from?  I am sure the ongoing crisis in the USA has caused many to think a lot of things.  Things like should I go or should I stay, should I buy gold or should I convert my money into something other than the dollar? Should I store up food or should I save my money and so forth and so on?  I would imagine there have been some that the Father has spoken to just like Abraham to get out and go to another land.  What has the Father asked you and me to separate from in our lives that we are still holding on to?  Remember this delayed the blessings in the life of Abraham.  For some of us, it is delaying our blessings from coming forth also.

With that foundation laid, let us see if we can identify this theme in the parasha.  In my opinion, I believe Abraham has learned from his mistakes of not separating when he was supposed to.  You know the older we get the more wisdom we obtain.  Abraham’s life is a great teaching tool teaching us what to do and what not to do.

so that I make you swear by יהוה, the Elohim of the heavens and the Elohim of the earth, that you do not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Kenaʽanites, among whom I dwell, Genesis 24:3

Here is a great example that we see in our text about separation.  Abraham is placing a boundary for his servant and clearly says don’t take a wife from Canaan.  If we remember back a few portions ago, we will be able to understand why it was important for Isaac to not have a wife from Canaan.  Abraham is administrating order.  This is something that many families as well as many Hebrew Roots communities are failing at.  Faith plus obedience creates a foundation on which the Eternal can build his kingdom.  This foundation many times begins with organization and continues with the administration of that organization.  When there is no organization or administration the foundation will be chaos, confusion, disorganization, and disobedience.  This causes us to build something that can’t be blessed by the Eternal.  Faith plus obedience brings the blessings of Yahweh because when we obey, it is a direct expression of our faith in the Creator of the Universe.

and he said, “Cursed is Kenaʽan, let him become a servant of servants to his brothers.” Genesis 9:25

This scripture gives us the reason why there had to be separation in Abraham’s life. The blessings of Abraham couldn’t have continued if Isaac would have married into a curse.    The servant of Abraham asks what happens if the woman isn’t willing to follow?  Do I take your son there to look for another?  Abraham responds by making it very clear that Isaac is to remain separate.  This is a great example of how Abraham administrates the organization which brings order and becomes the foundation for the promises, blessings, and covenant to continue.

And Abraham said to him, “Beware lest you take my son back there! Genesis 24:6

Abraham continues explaining his past, how the Creator took him from his native land, took him out of his father’s house, and out from among the pagan ways.  If I could add my thoughts on what was going through Abraham’s mind it was something like this, “why in the world would I want to send my son who has a purpose and call on his life back into the nations and risk losing not only him but his destiny as well.”  Maybe Abraham really didn’t want to dig up the past and wanted to only focus on the future and not allow anything to hinder or delay the promise from being fulfilled.  We are only left to speculate but one thing is for sure Abraham wanted to keep Isaac set apart or separate.

We even see this separation aspect near the end of Abraham’s life.  We find Abraham having to make a really tough decision.  So let this be an example for us. We are never too old, too faithful, or too holy to not be tested by Elohim.  There will always be tests in our lives.  Age has nothing to do with it and our righteousness doesn’t exempt us.

but to the sons of the concubines whom Aḇraham had, Aḇraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Yitsḥaq, eastward, to the land of the east. Genesis 25:6

We can clearly see that Abraham favored Isaac. That didn’t make it any easier when he had to send Ishmael away. Ishmael was his biological son also.  Can you imagine as a parent having to send one of your children away?  This is another example of the consequences that come from our disobedience.  It is easier to believe and obey in the beginning and follow the order of Yahweh than to do things in our own strength.  The Creator will have His way in the end.  When we don’t use faith and obedience, we create a situation, a test if you will, that comes along later in life.  This test is usually a lot harder to deal with if we didn’t pass it when it was first given.  In other words, it is easier to obey in the beginning than suffer the consequences that come from our disorder.

Now as a parent I would probably say that one of the toughest things I would have to do is send my own flesh and blood away from me and my house.  This is exactly what Abraham did.  Why would he do something like this?  Did Abraham lose his mind in his later years?  No.  The answer is simple.  Abraham learned from his previous mistakes of bringing his family along and trying to make the promise come forth in his own flesh (Ishmael).  He knew that in order for the promise to come forth there couldn’t be any interference, striving, or competition for the promise or blessings so he orders the son from his concubine to leave them and move far away from Isaac.

What would have happened if Abraham hadn’t obeyed and learned from his previous mistakes?  We may never know but one thing is for sure.  We have a lot to learn from the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith.  I guess the final question would be what are we holding onto in our lives that will do us no good for where Yahweh is calling us?  What baggage do we have that is allowing us not to walk where the Father has told us to walk?  We need to get rid of this stuff really fast because the window of opportunity is closing very fast.  It is late in the game and the clock is running down getting ready to end the game.  It’s time to decide which side of the fence we are going to be on.  The grace period for having one leg on each side of the fence is coming to an end.  The Creator is serious and before He comes for us He is coming to us (He will not be carrying the little lamb under his arm as the images portray; it will be the Judge from the book of Revelation that we get).  When He comes, I want to be able to tell Him that I did what He wanted me to do.  How about you?

It’s just too hard

I’ve heard many folks say that obeying the Father is just too hard or serving Him fully today is pretty much impossible.  This is so untrue, and we actually have an example in this portion with Rebekah.  We know that she was from the land in which Abraham came from so basically we can conclude it was a pagan nation.  I find it very interesting though that the Scripture tells us that she knew no man.

And the young woman was very good-looking, a maiden, no man having known her. And she went down to the fountain, filled her jar, and came up. Genesis 24:16

Throughout this chapter we see a beautiful picture here, but I just want to focus on one aspect of this story.  Clearly we see that Rebekah is a type and shadow of Israel.  That is pretty much a given to most of us.  What I would say to folks who say it is too hard to serve the Creator in this day and age is to go re read this story.  Rebekah, a type of Israel, living outside the land, a type and shadow of dispersion, knew no man or is a virgin.  So what I see here is even though she is outside of the land, in the nations, she has remained a virgin.

This should be an encouragement to us today. Even though we are outside of the land, we still have hearts to fully obey the Father and aren’t defiling ourselves with all the wicked and worldly things around us.  Something else that we see is the ten camels mentioned here.  The number ten has to do with complete or whole.  So for example we say the Ten Commandments but for all purposes there are more than ten and with those ten all the rest of the commandments fall under one of those.  In other words, the Ten Commandments represent all of the commandments of YHVH.  The ten camels as Brad Scott teaches represent the commandments and not only did Rebekah say I do or I will go, but after she said that, she jumped on a camel and it was actually the camel/s that enabled her to make it through the journey in the wilderness and the next stop was into the tent of her master to consummate the marriage.

What a beautiful picture of the true nature of what the commandments of YHVH are purposed for.  They are to keep us separated and set apart and lead, guide, and prepare us so that when the King calls for us we will be able to faithfully present ourselves without blemish and be pleasing to Him.