Genesis 23: That’s how Ephron’s field…became Abraham’s property.
Thirty seven years have passed since Sarah gave birth to the miracle baby. When she dies, Abraham, in his mourning, makes burial arraignments. He’s become a very wealthy man as he’s lived in Canaan but his wealth is in livestock and other belongings. Abraham doesn’t own a square foot of land. When he goes to the locals to secure a burial site, they’re kind to him, but beyond the kindness is what might be called old fashioned horse trading! Abraham is offered the use of their burial sites, but everyone knows he won’t do that. He’s lived among them all these years and has kept an identity distinct from them. They know that he’s not going to lay the body of his wife in one of their graves. Abraham asks about a certain piece of land and the owner offers it to him for free. However, that’s part of the bargaining process. There’s nothing Ephron would like better than for Abraham to be indebted to him over a small patch of land. Abraham responds that he wants to buy the land at full price so Ephron initiates the bargaining by offering it at a very high price. He expects Abraham to dicker with him but instead, he simply accepts the offer. The Hittites must be shocked to silence at Abraham’s response. They know Abraham’s a shrewd business man so they may think he’s so deep in grief that he isn’t thinking clearly. Now, for the first time, Abraham and his descendants possess land to call their own in the territory the Lord had promised decades earlier. That field and cave becomes the epicenter of the Promised Land for them. Ultimately Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah will all be buried in that place. Isn’t it interesting that the place where God’s promise to give Abraham possession of a land to call his own is first realized at a cave turned into a tomb! I’m probably not supposed to make the connection, but many years into the future, another of God’s promises: the promise to deliver lost humanity from sin will also be first realized at a similar tomb.
Take away: Sometimes God’s promises to us are first realized in totally unexpected ways.