Daily Reading – Genesis 23
In Chapter 22 we learn the child of promise must go up on Mt. Moriah and be sacrificed on the altar. God praises Abraham’s faithfulness for his willingness to offer up his son and then He reiterates the promises he made to him and his “seed”.
15 “And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
God reinforces his promise to Abraham that one day his offspring, or “seed”, would take possesion of all the land and would possess the gates of his enemies. This includes all the cities of the Promised Land that God showed Abraham in Genesis 15. But as the Lord revealed to Abraham in Chapter 15, this was a promise of future grace. God’s patience was bearing with the Amorites until their sin had reached its full measure. (Genesis 15:6)
In the meantime, Abraham was living as a stranger and alien in a land that was not his home.
Hebrews 11 shows Abraham’s attitude as he looked forward to a future home:
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
In our reading for today, Abraham loses his beautiful bride while soujourning in a land that is not his home. Abraham refuses to bury her in this foreign land among a rebellious people who have no fear of God. Instead he wants to bury Sarah at home.
Abraham has full assurance of the things hoped for in the Abrahamic covenant. Therefore he knows that one day this land will be taken from this godless nation and delivered to God’s covenant people.
But first the land must be redeemed.
Abraham approaches the Hittites to ask them about a cave where he would like to bury Sarah. He aknowledges that he is an alien and stranger in the land, but wants a place he can call home. The Hittites know Abraham is a wealthy and powerful man so they offer up any of their tombs free of charge in order to gain his favor. Abraham refuses this arrangement, because he knows the land must be bought with a price in order to truly become his possession.
Abraham has full assurance of the things hoped for in the Abrahamic covenant. Therefore he knows that one day this land will be taken from this godless nation and delivered to God’s covenant people. On that day Sarah truly will be buried at home.
God continues to develop the idea that the land must be redeemed through the establishment of a kinsman redeemer in Israel. A kinsman redeemer was responsible for the redemption of several things after the death of a close relative. These are outlined in Leviticus 25:47-55 and Leviticus 27:9-25.
A notable example of a kinsman redeemer is Boaz. He redeems the field of Elimelech and he also redeems Ruth, the widow of Elimelech’s son.
In each of these examples God is paving the way for the final redemption of the promised land when his covenant people will humbly follow their kinsman redeemer across the Jordan into their inheritance.
Abraham was looking forward to the day when his offspring would receive the fulfillment of the promise recounted in Romans 4:13.
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
One day the land will be redeemed, and the meek shall inherit the earth. This includes a cave near Hebron that will no longer be able to hold the bones of Sarah.
The Emmaus Trail is a weekly devotional study that explores the theme of God reconciling himself to the world through the redemption of his Son which is found in all of Scripture.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.