The Death of a Loved One
27 February 2022 PM – Genesis 50 – Gen2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Someone has said, “Life is just the dash between two dates on a tomb stone.” How true! God alone controls the length of your dash. Jacob’s dash was 147 years long. Joseph’s dash was 110 years.
When death takes a loved one, no matter how long his or her dash was, it is always painful to say good-bye to him or her.
Transition: This evening as we look at the funerals of Jacob and Joseph, I want to point out four reminders that ought to help us when we lose a loved one.
1. Grieving is natural and good (v.1-3)
a. Joseph Cried
1) Grief is normal when a loved one dies.
2) Grieving is a good but temporary event that prepares those left behind for the future without the loved one.
3) When a loved one passes away, do not be ashamed to grieve. Men especially struggle with this. Somehow, we think that it is not manly to cry. That simply is not true. Many great men in the Bible cried including the greatest of men – Jesus Christ (Jn 11:35). God designed our bodies to cry to release our emotions.
4) The Psalmist wrote, (Ps 30:5) “… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.“
5) We must grieve patiently. “Broken bones in time get stronger, broken hearts take even longer.”
b. Joseph had his father embalmed
1) This long process took about 40 days.
2) The family and many of the Egyptians mourned for Jacob 70 days. That was an unusually long time to grieve.
3) Grieving is more than just crying.
a) It is a time to reflect on the loved one’s life.
b) Grieving is a time to thank God for allowing you to know the loved one.
c) It is a good time to spend extra time alone with God.
d) As you grieve, share your sorrow with close friends.
4) Remember that sorrow is only temporary. God will give you peace if you will let Him. Accept death as God’s will.
5) “Life is precious and brief, a gift from God not to be wasted.” Warren Wiersbe, “Ministering to the Mourning”
2. Funerals ought to be settling (v.4-14)
a. Joseph sought permission to bury his father.
1) Burial helps to bring the loss to a settling close. “A funeral is an important step toward helping the mourners accept the reality and finality of the death and the responsibility of dealing with their grief in a mature way.” Wiersbe
2) Jacob had made Joseph promise to bury him in Canaan.
3) Joseph sought and received Pharaoh’s permission (v.4-6).
b. Joseph took Jacob’s body to Canaan
1) Servants and elders in Egypt all went along (v.7). All of Jacob’s family except the children went (v.8). Pharaoh even sent chariots and horsemen along (v.9).
2) When they got near to their destination, they stopped and mourned another seven days (v.10-11). Cultural traditions vary, but the funeral brings them to a close.
3) They buried Jacob in the cave of the field of Machpelah (v.12-13), and then they all returned to Egypt (v.14).
4) Your presence will be more comforting to your grieving friends than your words. (Rom 12:15) “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.“
People sometimes ask me if it matters whether a body is buried or cremated. I do not find a clear answer in the Bible, but what I do find is that burial in a cave or grave was the norm. In addition, baptism is a picture of death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism does not picture cremation. On the other hand, the burning of a body or human bones was considered a curse (e.g., Josh 7:24-26; 1Ki 13:1-2; 2Ch 34:3-5; 2Ki 23:15-20). Only under the rarest circumstances did God’s people burn the body of a loved one. When they did, they buried the bones (1Sa 31:8-13). Though the Bible may not condemn cremation, Biblical practice strongly favours burial. At the resurrection, God will find every element of every body whether it turned to dust, or ashes, or was eaten by a creature. God is all-knowing.