Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Comforting the Grieving

Every case is special.

Genesis 24:62-67 (ESV)

Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Comforted? Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death? What’s that all about?

Using scripture to interpret scripture, we find some solid clues. First, from Genesis 17:17, 23:1 and 25:20, we see that Isaac married Rebekah about three years after Sarah died.

Second, when Rebekah first asks who Isaac is, the servant says, “It is my master,” not, “It is my master’s son.” Remember, the servant described Isaac inheriting Abraham’s wealth in the past tense with the words, “to him he has given all that he has.” The mantle has already been passed.

Third, Genesis 37:35 and 38:12 indicate that “comforted” refers to the completion of mourning. Isaac wasn’t neurotic about the death of his mother, but there was some unfinished business.

Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother.

That’s the key. Remember, God clearly appointed Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife. All that drama with the servant and Rebekah and her family was a sign. The family has a matriarch again – one clearly chosen by God. This fills the void left by Sarah’s death and completes the transition.

So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

One of the main callings of a Christian is to help and comfort those in need. Grieving people almost always could use a little comforting – and sometimes more than that.

Lift up those who are grieving. Pray that they will find peace and understanding. Specifically, ask the Lord to give them His peace.

Also ask God to show you what you can do to help. It’s good to give comfort to the grieving in your own way, but God may open your eyes to something different.

You may notice grief in an unlikely place or an unlikely person. Or you may see an unexpected way to help.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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