Sunday, January 23, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 23

This chapter shows us a man effectively living in the earthly realm with faith in the eternal promises of God.  His life so impressed the residents of the 'promised land', they called Abraham a prince.  He called himself a sojourner, a pilgrim.  Abraham believed God would fulfill His promise regarding the land but in the meantime he simply acted in a manner that was just and right:  'render to all their due' (Romans 13:7-8).  This purchase was the only one ever attributed to Abraham but his eternal heritage is beyond calculating! 

In this chapter Abraham honored the life and partnership of his spouse.  We are to honor the lives of our loved ones with tributes.  Every life is valued by the Lord and we join His Spirit in a small sense when we embrace the value of individuals He has given to us.  Sarah was clearly a wife given by God and she offers wives today a model of commitment.  The tears we shed and the actions we take to honor our loved ones are healing for us, right before God and a witness to those who know us.

Abraham also respected the property of others and he paid a fair price for the land owned by Ephron.  Earthly possessions were not the focus of Abraham's life; his focus was on faithful living within the earthly situations he faced.  He did not want to be enriched by others or owe a debt that could interfere with his own (and others) view of the Lord.  He contracted his business in the open and with fairness.  The way we relate to others, the way we conduct business must be in the light of God's ways.  People are watching us; we want to point to the Lord!

As you think about Abraham's example, perhaps you will enjoy the integrity of God's Word as you see him live out what was written to the Romans almost two thousand years later...and which is still valid for us another almost two thousand years later: 

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.  (Romans 13:7-14)

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