Today when a person dies we contact a funeral home and determine a cemetery to bury the body. Abraham had a several problems. First, there were no funeral homes or cemeteries. Second, he and his family were strangers in the land. Third, they owned no property. They went where God sent them. So what was Abraham to do with the body of Sarah?
First, he requested a place to bury Sarah from the people of the land. Second, he negotiated a price for a piece of land as a place of burial.
Abraham requests a possession to bury Sarah (Verses 3-4)
And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
Negotiation for cave at Machpelah (Verses 5-18)
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. (Genesis 23:16-18)
As we read the life and times of Abraham the Bible states that he was rich and well respected. The one thing he did not have was land. The cave at Machpelah was the only property he owned.
What do we depend on in this life, our possessions, our money, wealth, social standing, or our own personal prestige? Abraham trusted God to lead him and supply for him and his family. Although he had much worldly goods, it did not draw him away from his God.
May we be willing to trust God like that.
Tomorrow the story continues.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001