Gen. 23:1-4 – “Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, 'I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.'” (emphasis added)
- Scripture doesn't say why Sarah was in Hebron and Abraham had to GO THERE to mourn for her. Was she on a journey and died on the way? Or did they live separately – Sarah in Hebron, Abraham in Beersheba (Gen. 22:19)? If they lived separately, why? And how long had it been since Abraham had seen her? Many questions remain unanswered in Scripture, but we do know this. Abraham was FAITHFUL – even in his pain – to pursue ownership of God's promised land. He searched for that glimmer of hope in his darkness. Perhaps it was even the shove of grief that moved him to ask for the first possession of God's promise.
- The Hittites first answer seemed generous but was in fact a honeyed refusal of Abraham's appeal to purchase land in Canaan. Abraham could have acquiesced and – in his pain – submitted to the seemingly kind offer and remained a squatter in Canaan, not an owner of God's promises. Instead, he pressed for more – did the uncomfortable business now – though it took more emotional energy. In doing so, he no doubt avoided future squabbles for his family burials, and he secured God's ultimate blessing and best.
- Look at the progression. Abraham asked Hittite elders for “some” land to bury Sarah. When he asked to buy a specific cave on a man's property, that man “happened” to be in the crowd, and Abraham suddenly found himself purchasing the entire field. It was a struggle, yes. At a time of mourning, when he should have been able to simply concentrate on grieving. But life seldom allows us to compartmentalize, and we're often required to be faithful even in our pain…like Abraham.
- God promised that Abraham and his descendants would possess the land of Canaan. The fulfillment of that promise began with Sarah's burial site – and Abraham's grief. Sometimes the initiation of God's greatest blessings begins with our deepest pain. Remaining faithful through the pain reaps not only the fulfillment of God's promise, but also His pleasure in the process.