That is how the property which had belonged to Ephron at Machpelah east of Mamre, became Abraham’s. It included the land, the cave which was in it, and all the trees on the land up to the edge of the property. It was recognised as Abraham’s property by all the Hittities who were there at the meeting.
Then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in that cave in the land of Canaan. (verses 17-19)
Read Genesis 23:1-20
We have here an interesting look at ancient business practices. We also are given an idea of how much respect Abraham had in that world and how generous the people who respected him were prepared to be. But, digging deeper, we also have the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promises to Abraham: that he and his descendants would be a great nation, a nation that owned much land.
If that is so, what a humble beginning we have here. For this piece of real estate – a piece of land with a cave in which to bury his wife – was the only piece of real estate that Abraham owned, right up to the time he died.
We too have been promised many things by God on the basis of an everlasting covenant, a covenant in Jesus’ blood. One of the things that has been promised is eternal life, here and now. When we look at what we have now, it probably looks like the equivalent of only a cave and a piece of land, in view of the whole vista of eternity. But that makes the promise no less real. We will see it in its fullness only after our death. But we have it. We have it all and we have it now. God promises it.
Help me to trust your promises completely, Father, even though I see only a small portion of their glory. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘God’s Promises for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1999)
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