So, we've been talking about Israel being “God's timepiece.” Prophecy is being fulfilled that will count down to the return of Christ and the nation of Israel will be in the center of it. So last week we talked about how Jacob gave his blessing to his kids, and then he yielded his spirit to the Lord. But before he passed on, he gave instructions to Joseph.
Genesis 47:29 b … Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.”
Jacob (Israel) had a deep yearning to be buried in his homeland… He recognized that Egypt was not their home forever and that one day they would be returning…. He wanted to be buried in the place of his forefathers; a place that his grandfather Abraham had purchased after the death of his wife Sarah.
Genesis 23 talks about this place; the cave of Machpelah near Hebron; it is the place that Abraham purchased from the Hittites in order to bury Sarah. This burial site is considered sacred to those of Judaism faith, the Jews…. in it are the bodies of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Issac, Sarah, Leah and Jacob.
Genesis 23 details Abraham's transaction; it's important because Abraham paid for something that God had promised to give him, he made a deposit on something that was way bigger; he got the deed for it, it was signed, sealed, and delivered. This land that he purchased was a downpayment on land that he knows God will some day give to his people.
So Abraham makes a request of Ephron, the Hittite: “will you sell me the tomb?” He needs to own it, legally, even though it's God’s promise that he would have all the land of Canaan. He wants the deed, he wants to pay full price for it, he wants to have the paper in his hand. Why? Because he is a sojourner; he's a pilgrim; he's passing through this world. He won't obtain all of the promised land in his time; but he will view it from afar and be assured that it will come to pass.
Genesis 23:14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15“My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So bury your dead.” 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.
Abraham is saying, in making the purchase:” I'm going to participate in what God is doing no matter what it costs” - the cost was steep - Abraham did not flinch or bargain. Four hundred shekels is about $200,000 in today's money for a rocky field and tomb. But Abraham becomes an active participant in the plan of God. It’s a downpayment in the plan of God, that one day the land will be delivered to Israel.
We too, are waiting for a better place; the purchase price has been paid by the blood of Jesus, we who believe are sealed by the Holy Spirit…the deal is signed, sealed and we are waiting to be delivered. But there is a cost in being a participant in God’s plan; Jesus says that we must take up our cross and follow Him.
Join us in person on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or via livestream by going to https://www.firstbaptistsudbury.com and clicking on livestream for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”