Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Genesis 23

I apologize for publishing so sporadically lately. Things have been moving and may continue to move in my life over the next week or so. It is an exciting time to see God’s blessing is about all I can say.

We are almost through our study of the life of Abraham. Today, we reach another crossroads with the death of Sarah. This is roughly about 25 years later from the time when Abraham was tested to sacrifice Isaac. She has constantly been in the background here because of the way Abraham’s society was. Women were treated as property as opposed to human beings. Still, Sarah played a very important role as the matriarch of faith. She still needed to have great faith in order to be blessed as she was. Even with her death, God did amazing things.

3 Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, 4 "I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead."

5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 "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."

7 Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. 8 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 9 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." – Genesis 23:3-11

This is proof of both the power of God and how much He blessed Abraham. We know that Abraham is ethnically the father of the modern-day nation of Israel. They are shunned and hated throughout the entire Middle Eastern region. In Abraham’s time, however, he was greatly respected by the local people, as we see here. Even in his time of great grief, they honored him by essentially giving him a place to bury his dead. They could have seen him as a threat, but instead they gave him honor. This is especially profound since later on the Hittites would become Israel’s enemy.

We also see Abraham’s own humility by the way he still pays for something that he is being given for free. There would have been absolutely nothing wrong with accepting what the Hittites were giving him. Still, he honored them by paying the price they named even though they did not want it.

No comments: