Genesis: The Beginning
Sarah Dies 1-22-16
READ: Genesis 23
Yesterday, we read about the birth of Isaac, the dismissal of Ishmael and Hagar, as well as a ‘mountain-of-a-test’ for Abraham. Today, we will hold Abraham’s heart as his beloved Sarah dies and he makes arrangements for her burial.
Sarah lives to be 127 years old. Abraham is distraught over making burial accommodations, because he does not own land. God has promised Abraham land, he has actually lived in the Promised Land of Canaan, but he has no legal claim to it and has no place to permanently lay her or his future descendants to rest. Abraham is a sojourner and foreigner in the land of the Hittites. Hittite translates “terrible” or “fearsome.”
Abraham goes to meet with the Hittites. They offer Abraham his choice of the finest of sepulchers (they see the favor of God on Abraham and may want to financially take advantage of him). Abraham does not want any of these royal sepulchers. Instead he wants to purchase a cave owned by Ephron and is willing to pay full price even though the cave including the surrounding oak grove is offered to him as a gift. In Bedouin (desert dweller) practice, bargaining or accepting a gift means the other person is beholden to them. Abraham does not want to be obligated to anyone besides Yahweh, nor take the risk of the sale being revoked or challenged later. This property with a cave near Mamre in Hebron is very special. Please remember this exact area is where the LORD appeared to Abraham. Abraham provided hospitality and restoration earlier to visiting angels who promise him a son (Genesis 18:1-15). Do you see God working an intricate tapestry for a connected story to Messiah? So, Abraham plants this first ownership seed (buying the property that contains a field, trees, and a cave for 400 shekels—yes it is excessive!) in the fertile ground of God’s promise; this cave is an anchor into the Kingdom for Abraham’s descendants.
If we look for a relevant spiritual meaning for application in this lesson, we can identify the land of the Hittites as a land of fear [the world] and, as children of Yahweh in the world, we are also making a journey toward a land of peace [the Kingdom of God]. One of Abraham’s descendants will someday be buried in a cave that can not contain Him; Christ will roll the stone of death away so anyone who desires to follow His Lordship can enter into the Kingdom. Hallelujah!