Daily Devotional Genesis 23:1–20
Last year 431,322 people applied for asylum in the United States. Of those, about 25,000 people were accepted. Refugees applying for asylum agree not to return to their home country while their status is being processed. Many will never step foot in their home country ever again.
All these people were still living by faith when they died.
In the ancient world, people were normally buried in the homeland of their ancestors (Gen. 50:25). Abraham made a significant step by seeking to bury Sarah in the land of Canaan. In this act, he was renouncing his former homeland in Mesopotamia. Yet, he was still a foreigner in Canaan. He did not own any land. By purchasing the cave and field of Machpelah, Abraham showed his faith in God’s promise that Canaan would become the permanent home of his descendants.
Even though God had promised to give the land to Abraham and his descendants, he was patient and waited for God’s timing (Gen. 12:7). The conversation between Abraham and Ephron reflected typical bargaining protocol. While Ephron sounded polite and generous throughout, he sold the land to Abraham for a substantial price. Abraham paid in full and in public at the city gate (v. 18). This was the first piece of the Promised Land Abraham acquired, and it served as a down payment or the firstfruits of the rest.
Abraham’s purchase of the land was a declaration that God’s promise did not end with him but continued with his descendants. He was putting down roots. This cave became the family burial plot where Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah would all be buried.
God’s promises are not exhausted by our life spans. His promise of eternal life and a new heavens and new earth require a resurrection. Scripture calls us to trust in God’s faithfulness even beyond the grave.
Do you have trouble waiting for God to fulfill His promises to you? What can you learn from Abraham’s story? Can you give an example when you stepped out in faith, trusting in God?
Pray with Us
God, we trust that all things work together for “the good of those who love [You], who have been called according to [Your] purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Thank You for Your goodness to us.