10 February 2020

Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Remember and Keep

How to live longer and healthier is vitally important in our society, especially to those entering retirement years. When we reach middle-age we begin to measure our life-span. We are at the halfway mark to death if we remain healthy. Now is the time to watch what we eat. We make some lifestyle changes that lessen stress. We read the innumerable articles and books that teach diet, exercise, spirituality, relationships, and so on that will help us achieve a long, healthy life.

There is nothing new under the sun. Proverbs is the ancient book on how to live such a life. Its secret formula is somewhat different from the modern approaches, for its “secret formula” is to live a morally good life, which is defined by righteousness, which is defined by keeping the commandments of God as revealed in Scripture, which are summed up as “the fear of the Lord.”

Remember and keep. Many people forget the good principles and commandments taught them in their early years and so are led astray. Many remember these lessons but reject them in rebellion or like to think of themselves as outgrowing such childish beliefs. Remember and keep, or as the epistle of James says, hear and do. If we are not doers of the word, we become forgetters of the word. We may remember what we are taught, but we forget the power and the blessing of obedience. Like a former athlete, we remember what we performed but we forget the feeling of the performance – we forget how healthy we felt.

Remember and keep. Remember the commands of your Lord – of your Lord Jesus Christ – and keep them. Remember his command to believe in him whom God the Father sent (John 6:29). Remember his instruction that if we love him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15). Remember his own example, for he remembered all the commandments of his Father and kept them, that he might win our salvation. All the more then, we should remember and keep.

Genesis 23

23 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”

The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”

10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”

12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”

16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.

17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.