Imagine your dad has given you a beautiful and luxurious new car. You then take that car, drive it over to the local new-car dealer, and park it directly in front of the showroom window. You exit the car, walk over to the first salesman you see and announce to him, “I want to buy that car!” As peculiar as this might seem, in a sense this is what Abraham has done in our story.
“I am a foreigner and a visitor among you…”
Abraham proclaims to these locals after the death of his wife Sarah. At first it doesn’t seem that odd a statement; he is sojourning with his wife, she dies, and he needs a burial site for her—it’s not that unusual. But then we remember that Abraham already owns all this land.
…The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” Genesis 15:18-21
Abraham is asking to purchase that which already belongs to him. The question is why and it is an answer we discover in the Book of Hebrews. While it is true we learn (in Hebrews) that Abraham’s greatest asset is his faith, we also gain some insight to Abraham’s mindset as it pertains to the things of this world.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance… (but) he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8 + 10
What’s Really Going On
Abraham, in his grief, chooses to be a witness to those around him; his behavior a living testimony to his God. The demonstration cries out to the world, “This is not my home; my home is with the Father!” In Abraham’s case, the heathen world took notice, even though it was not very long before some would take advantage. In spite of that, Abraham stands firm through this devout pursuit, opting to pay any price rather than sellout on principle.
Whose Image Are You
It is not an accident that Abraham acted as he did, nor is it an accident that these events are recorded for our consumption, but make no mistake about it, Abraham’s manner is so much more than a pattern for sinful man to follow. The concealed message is not where we are going, but by what means we are to arrive. When Jesus asks His disciples whose image and inscription was on a coin, the implication was whose image do we reflect—do we look like the world or do you look like Him?
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone… Ephesians 2:19-20