And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.” (Genesis 23:8-9)
The word Machpelah is said to mean “double” alluding to the notion that this cave had double compartments. As it turns out, many “doubles” would be buried there: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob and Leah. And so it was that the first plot of ground Abraham “legally” possessed in the land of Canaan (purchased for an exorbitant price) was a burial spot. For centuries this was the only place in Canaan that was decidedly Hebrew but it was the important first step of many in taking possession of the Land. Later, more property would be purchased (e.g. Joseph’s tomb) until, finally, Abraham’s descendants came into Canaan en masse to conquer the entire territory.
Considering that the fulfillment of God’s plan began with the purchase of a burial plot, I am reminded of an important concept that Yeshua addressed centuries later when He said:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. (John 12:24).
For fruit to be produced, a seed has to surrender to death. Likewise in the Kingdom of God, for His purposes to be fulfilled, His servants have to be willing to die to their will and desires and, sometimes, be willing to die bodily. The Bible is replete with accounts of those who were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of God’s purpose, not that He always required that of them, but because they were that committed.
Think of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego and their willingness to be tossed alive into a fiery pit rather than defame the God of Israel in the eyes of the Babylonians. This is but one example of those whose were willing to die that righteous fruit might be produced. You and I must embrace the fact that this will continue to be the standard for service in the last days and so let us determine within our hearts to be those who are described thus:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11)
Blessings and Shalom,