In our study of Genesis chapter twenty three, we will look at Abraham's purchase of a burial plot for Sarah and its implications for today.
"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." NIV translation
As they say, Sarah lived to a ripe old age but then she died. Hebron is a city that is in what is called the West Bank today. There have been many disputes over the city but it is still a part of Israel even though it is somewhat controlled by the "Palestinian Authority". As we saw in chapter 22, Abraham was in Beersheba and we do not know why Sarah was in Hebron. When he found out, he went to mourn for her.
"Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, 'I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.' The Hittites replied to Abraham, 'Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.'" NIV translation
Abraham asked the local people to sell him a burial plot for Sarah but they offered him a tomb for free because they had great respect for him. This reminds us of our calling to be "in the world but not of the world".
Abraham was in the land of Canaan but was considered, by himself as well as others, to be a foreigner. He was not from that land and people knew that he was different.
We all have to ask ourselves whether people can tell that we are foreigners in this world or whether we blend in. As we see here, the locals can respect you but they need to still know that you belong to a heavenly kingdom.