Buried Promises

Daily Reading: Genesis 23, 24; Matthew 8

So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Abraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth. (Genesis 23:20, NASB95)

Abraham purchases a piece of land in order to bury his wife Sarah. Why is this event so significant to the Abraham story? It seems somewhat anticlimactic after the previous scene of the testing of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. After this is the more dramatic providential leading of Abraham’s servant that results in finding God’s chosen wife for Isaac. Like the birth of Isaac, this story continues the fulfilment of God’s promises to Abraham.

  • God promised to give him and his descendants all the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 15:18). The purchase of this land was like a pledge or downpayment of the rest.
  • Burial speaks of permanency. Besides Abraham (Gen. 25:9) and Sarah, Isaac (Gen. 25:27-29), Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (Gen. 49:29-31) are also buried here.
  • Burial also points to the afterlife, which stretches on beyond time. The promise of land now takes on a more eternal nature. God would not forget His promise to give the land to Abraham’s descendants, nor that his descendants would number more than the sands on the seashore.

Abraham and all the patriarchs die without seeing the complete fulfillment of the promise, but this reminds us that God’s promises transcend death. Jesus reminds the Sadducees regarding the resurrection, that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matt. 22:32). Death is not an obstacle for God, but rather one that Jesus has overcome in his death and resurrection. God’s promises are rooted in His eternal nature and since He is ever faithful, we know that His promises will be fulfilled whether we see them or not. While everything in our world is changing and transitory, God’s promises are eternal and absolute. Since God’s promises are for you (2 Cor. 1:20), do you trust Him to complete His work in you? Are you submitted to God, or are you holding back until you visually see fulfillment?

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