Our devotional series based on the book Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos continues. Last week, we read about the death of Sarah who, despite all her faults and shortcomings, is considered one of the most respected women of the Old Testament. Her life reminds us that God doesn't expect us to be perfect; we are reminded to put our trust in God and to rely on others to help us live our faith. Faith doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, lived alone.
Week 25: Read Genesis 23:3-20 (Love and Honor - Part 2)
"Prompted by the need for a proper burial site for his beloved wife, Abraham moves into negotiations with the Hittites to secure a piece of land. Clearly, they know who he is. Abraham has made a name for himself over the last few decades because of his victories and his wealth. Because of that, they try to honor him by simply giving him the land he has requested. The nuance here is that land given would still technically belong to the giver, more like a loan than a true gift. However, Abraham hasn't come here to merely borrow something. He has come to solidify his right to be there by owning a piece of land himself and burying his wife in a place that would finally be called their own.
The Hittites are apprehensive to make him an equal by selling him land and so continue their offer, but Abraham is not persuaded. He pushes the point and ends up buying the land from a man named Ephron for a significant amount of money. The chapter closes with Abraham successfully burying his wife in the cave he now owns, and the author foreshadows this as the beginning of God's fulfillment of the promise of land.
Slowly but surely, the readers of Genesis are seeing the promises of God to Abraham fulfilled, but usually in timeframes and circumstances that are monumentally different than expected. In this chapter, Abraham acted out of love and honor and received the beginnings of promise as a reward, but it's hard to believe that was his only intention. He loved his wife tremendously and acted in her best interest as well as the best interest of his family (because he and his children would end up buried there as well).
Sometimes following God's will looks exactly like normal life. Making choices without knowing which one is correct, dealing with personalities and circumstances to find a suitable outcome, and just trying and praying and letting things fall where they will.
The Christian life is, most of the time, not supernatural. What Christ and the Holy Spirit did and do is certainly beyond this world. But on our part, most of what we do will be classified as normal. Normal prayers, normal errands, normal difficulties and frustrations, and normal successes. It's God who takes the normal and turns it into supernatural. All Abraham did was honor his wife and buy a piece of land. God allowed those things to happen but then went further and used that one event to start the ripple effect that enabled Israel to become its own kingdom.
God takes our normal and 'Christifies' it - exploding it into eternal significance, just as God did with the people we read about in the Bible. We just need to be faithful in the normal and rely on God to do the rest."
I don't know about you, but being faithful in the normal is difficult enough for me most days. Every now and then, on my demand, I want to see some supernatural. I forget that the supernatural is all around me if I just remember to stop and look and listen.
Takeaway from today's lesson: God takes our faithful normal and makes it supernatural.
Prayer: God, help me be faithful in the day-to-day of this life, so that you can make extraordinary things come from it. Help me to remain patient and remain trusting in your promises. Amen.