This message was preached by Gurmeet Dhanowa at Word of Grace Church on July 30th, 2017. Gurmeet has been a friend of Colin and Navaz for many years and leads Tricity Asha Church in Chandigarh.To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.
Q.How many of you like the character of Abraham from the Bible?
He is the father of the faith and did amazing things!
Q. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Abraham?
He was obedient to God, he was a friend of God..
Gen 23- this is when Sarah, Abraham’s wife dies. “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. 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.” Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.” Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.” Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.” Ephron answered Abraham, “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants. So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.”
Here is a grieving man- who lost his wife who was with him through everything. They were married for a long time. When you are married for a long time, you become like that person, and you miss them when you are not with each other. So Abraham is missing Sarah and he is grieving. In his entire life, he did not buy land, he moved where God asked him to move. He was blessed but never bought property.
Q. So why now? Why does he want to buy the property now?
He chose the best place and is not bargaining about it. He loved his wife, but I think there is more reason for buying this piece of land.
Abraham has gathered all the elders and they have come to mourn with him. The first thing that struck me was- they address Abraham as the ‘prince of God’. He have a high regard for Abraham!
Q. Why do they have such high regard for him?
Maybe they heard reports about great things that happened- about how Pharaoh released them, about how he went to rescue his nephew Lot and was victories against 3 kings. So people might have asked, who is this Abraham? Which nation is he the King of? They noticed that he is an extraordinary man. They saw the greatness of the God he served.
Three months ago we moved house. The owner of this house is a retired professor from a college- a very religious Hindu man. So when I went to meet with him, he said, “I know very few Christians in my life. I don’t easily rent out my flat, but since you are a Christian I’ll give it to you”. He had experiences with Christians that they were trustworthy and reliable.
Q. How do people relate with you because you are a Christian?
As a church, we can have a reputation in our society. Word of Grace is God’s presence in the city of Pune. People around us must want us because we are the people of God.
Although Abraham was prosperous and well-reputed, he is humble. He bows down and asks for the piece of land. He asks the elders. He honored authority. We need to honor our government, our authorities. We honor God when we honour our authorities.
Q. So why did he want to buy this expensive piece of land?
The owner was quoting a very high price. But Abraham is not bargaining. He says, whatever the price is, I will buy. The purchase of this land is significant to him.
Abraham remembered the covenant of God- that his descendants will be like the stars in the sky and sand in the desert, that his descendants will possess this land. So he believed in God. Even towards the end when he’s grieving for his wife, the vision of God was burning inside him.
1. Firstly, he wants to honor Sarah with a proper tomb as the mother of the jewish nation.
2. Secondly, he wanted to anchor his decendants to the land of Canaan.
3. Thirdly, he did a legal deed- So even in future generations, there should be no dispute when he dies and his sons die. The place belongs to Abraham and his Family.
God gives us visions and promises. But with passage of time, we can allow those promises to fade away. We must keep it alive. One thing we do is remind ourselves of the promises of God. We need to anchor ourselves in the promises of God. We might get old and tired, but his promises don’t grow old.
Two days ago we were talking about William Carey at the conference. He brought the printing press to India. He didn’t have just one generation in mind. He wanted to leave the Word of God printed and in people’s hands so it passes on to generations to come. God gives us a vision, but many times we have to take steps and sow into that vision. When we moved from Jalandhar to Chandigarh, it was a more expensive. But God lead us to move there. He is going to build his church and send in people into the church. So when we take steps investing in his promises, there is a return in it.
Sometimes God will call you personally. So we believe the bigger vision but invest in it in a specific way. That involves sacrifice. The vision is going to grow and as God calls you to take these steps, keep believing, moving and trusting God.
Heb 11 –Abraham was not just living for that one piece of land. He bought the piece of land, but he had a different vision. Abraham looked at the city whose architect and builder is God. He wouldn’t have been able to explain it to anyone. But he was willing to pay the cost. The promises of God were burning in them. So let’s be like our Father Abraham!
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.