We live in a day when more and more believers are choosing cremation instead of burial. Scripture, however, provides abundant revelation that shows that burial and not cremation is the right choice for every believer to make.
This post treats a premier reason for choosing burial instead of cremation. It does so by applying Micah 6:8 to what Scripture reveals about the importance of burial in 2 Samuel 2:4-6.
What Loyal People Do for a Deceased Person
When the men of Jabeshgilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul and to his sons, they acted at great personal cost (“went all night”) to ensure that Saul and his sons would be buried:
1 Samuel 31:11 And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; 12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
Later, king David was informed of what these men had done:
2 Samuel 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.
When David learned of what they had done, David declared that what they had done to bury1 Saul showed kindness (Heb. hesed) to Saul:
2 Samuel 2:5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness [hesed] unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
Holladay defines hesed as ‘loyalty’ (A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 111). We thus learn from Scripture that burying a deceased person is how we show our loyalty to him.
God Requires Us to Love Loyalty
One of the most famous passages in Scripture teaches us that God requires us to love mercy (hesed):
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy [hesed], and to walk humbly with thy God?
This passage that instructs believers to love hesed shows us that God requires that we love loyalty.
Applying Micah 6:8 to 2 Samuel 2:4-6
God has instructed us that He requires that we love loyalty (Micah 6:8). He has also revealed that loyalty to a deceased person is shown by burying that person (2 Sam. 2:4-6).
In obedience to God, therefore, believers should show that they love loyalty by burying a deceased person. Burial—not cremation—is the right thing for all believers to do for a deceased person.
Let us choose burial to display our love of loyalty to a deceased person.
1 See my post Three Reasons for Why Cremation Is Unbiblical for an explanation of why the account in 1 Samuel 31:11-13 does not support cremation at all.
Picture Credit: M. Shires
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