More To Know
Genesis 23 is composed of 20 verses. The entire chapter is about Abraham purchasing land from the Hittites. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had died at 127 years old. She was 90 when their only son Isaac was born. That means Isaac was 37 and his father was 137 when Sarah died. Think about having parents of that age in this day and time: a father who is 100 years older than his son and a mother 90 years older than her child! It is difficult to imagine what that would be like today when most people have children in their 20s and 30s. That has nothing to do with the topic. I just find it interesting. 😊
When reading this chapter, Genesis 23, I did not understand why an entire chapter was devoted to Abraham securing a burial place for his family. Although the immediate need was because Sarah had passed, eventually Abraham was also buried there. When the time came, their son Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried in this same location. One of Isaac’s sons, Jacob and one of Jacob’s wives, Leah, were also interred here. (Genesis 49:30-31 and Genesis 50:13) It seems that the whole story of a land purchase could have been told in just two or three verses. Why is an entire chapter devoted to it?
Genesis 12:1-4 is the narrative of God telling Abram (his name had not yet been changed to Abraham) to leave his homeland, father and country and go to a land that he would be shown.
Genesis 12:1-4 NLT
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Genesis 12:6-7 NLT
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.[a]” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
A hint of the importance of the purchase of the burial land is given in the verses cited above in Genesis 12. In securing this area of land for his family, Abraham was acting on the promise that God had communicated to him. Often, when people die the body of the deceased is transported to the old homestead or to their birthplace. But Abraham didn’t do that. He didn’t take Sarah’s body back to Haran where they had come from because God had told him I am giving your people THIS land. Abraham acted on that word or promise not only for the present situation of Sarah’s death but also to provide a cemetery or a family burial plot for himself and his descendants.
Why is this important enough that a whole chapter would be devoted to it?
Here are six reasons that may be considered.
First, when God shows us something for our life and future, it is best to be ‘all in’. We should fully embrace what the Lord has presented. The promise was to Abraham but he would not get to see the manifestation of the fulness of it. The actualization would not come to pass until several hundred years later when Joshua was appointed leader of the Israelites. Abraham demonstrated faith and foresight. He wholeheartedly embraced the promise and acted on what God said and what he believed. Abraham’s thoughts and actions showed he was certain that his descendants would occupy this land. They would live and die there because God said so. This was not a temporary arrangement. Abraham may have missed his father and other relatives and friends. But he did not abort or delay a spiritual legacy to satisfy a natural urge or longing. Some people are more loyal to ‘mom n em’ than they are to the voice and Spirit of the Lord. God’s timing is perfect. There is no ‘wiggle room’ to nurture natural impulses when God has initiated an assignment.
When he left Haran, his father’s country, Abram was 75 years old. He was 100 when Isaac was born. In Genesis 24 Abraham wants a wife for Isaac. Isaac was 40 when he married (Genesis 25:20). At the time of Isaac’s marriage, Abraham was 140 years old. It had been 65 years since he left his father plus the land and culture with which he was familiar. The intensity of what God communicated to him did not diminish in Abraham’s mind or spirit even after 65 years. This truth is evident in Genesis 24:1-7. The servant who is sent to find a wife for Isaac is instructed to search for a woman from Abraham’s country and kindred and bring her to the promised land. The servant asks if the woman is not willing to follow him there should he take Isaac back to the land of their origin. Abraham is adamant that Isaac is not to go back there because of God’s promise and instructions.
Genesis 24:1-7 NLT
Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. 3 Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?”
6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. 7 For the Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants.[a] He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.
When the word of God does not materialize in the way or time that people may have expected, there is a temptation to dilute what God said. There may be a pull to minimize some of what the Lord said to accommodate the current situation. Abraham did not forget the word of the Lord. He did not allow anything or anyone to persuade him to alter the plan God had given him for his people. Multitudes of people would benefit from Abraham’s faith and obedience.
This is the second reason why the purchase of this burial ground is significant enough to require an entire chapter. The location, from that point on, is respected and regarded forever. An area secured as a resting place for the bodies of loved ones who have transitioned, is different from land used to erect a home or building. A building can be torn down or swept away and the ground can look like the structure was never there. But burial land has a different significance. Cemeteries are expected to be well maintained and undisturbed indefinitely. It permanently connects the people to the land.
The third reason is to show that even though a promise has been issued, there is something that we need to do. We need to be involved. We must take action that reflects the confidence and assurance we have in the promise. Engagement is evidence of the faith we have in God and His word. It is not prudent or wise to just sit back and see what happens. One reason the Lord lets a person know what is ahead is so they can prepare for the blessing. Preparation requires effort and action. Preparation insists on engagement. When the situation presented itself (Sarah’s death) Abraham took action that was in harmony with what he had been told by the Lord.
Genesis 23:3-6 illustrates the fourth reason for the significance of this chapter.
Genesis 23:3-6 NLT
3 Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, 4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.”
5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.”
Abraham had favor with the people he was dealing with. They viewed him as a man of honor and integrity. He conducted himself well among them in business, socially and economically. He didn’t enter their land threatening and boasting that he would eventually oust them and take over. He was a good neighbor and a peaceful person. He did not stir up any trouble with them and they could see the prosperity that covered his life. We are to represent the Lord well in all matters. If the Lord announces to you that you will take over a position currently occupied by someone else, don’t publicize it. Let the Lord do the speaking. Abraham did not agitate the Canaanites. He was humble and respectful among them.
The fifth reason that this chapter carries such weight is that the purchase of this property was a token transaction. It was like a down payment. The purchase represented a very small portion of something to come that would be much more substantial. When the Lord shares a promise, we may only see a small bit of it at first. He may show just enough for you to remember and hold onto what He said. Sometimes He lets us experience just enough to know that the rest is coming. We are not to lose faith while we wait.
Zechariah 4:8-10 NLT
Then another message came to me from the Lord: 9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
We stand on the Word of God and don’t have to have anything else. But sometimes He allows or even facilitates a token, a smaller representation of what is to come for you and those who are coming after you. The Lord rejoices over the beginning of a thing. We often agonize over the beginning and rejoice at the end. But He knows that what we see as a ‘start’ is actually already completed in Him. He rejoices at the opportunity He has given us to exercise our faith in Him. He rejoices that we take positive action to move at His direction, toward something that He has made known to us. Our faith and corresponding engagement bring Him joy!
The sixth and final point of discussion is noted in Genesis 23:4.
Genesis 23:4 NLT
4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.”
Abraham was a wanderer, a foreigner there. He had no legal claims or ties to the land. The purchase transaction was done publicly and legally. No one, at a future date, could state that Abraham’s possession wasn’t legitimate or that he had no proper claim to the property. The wisdom employed here ensured that all that transpired was done according to the civil requirements at the time. Genesis 23:17-20 records that the necessary components were present. Any legal transfer of property requires at least these five details: 1) where is the property 2) who sold it 3) who bought it 4) how much 5) who testified to the transaction.
Genesis 23:17-20 NLT
17 So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees. 18 It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19 Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20 So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.
In this case there were plenty of witnesses and a precise description of the location and boundaries. Also noted are the people involved and the price that was paid for the land.
This sole transaction held major significance for Abraham and all of his descendants. What is the significance of the current chapter of your life? How is what is being written going to affect your future? What are you doing that will benefit your posterity? Are you engaged in the promises of God? Are you acting on the promises as the Spirit and occasion dictate? What we do impacts those who follow after. It is vital that we leave a strong, healthy legacy of faith and fruitfulness for others to emulate and build upon. Your assignment is about much more than just you. You are more than a 'one-hit-wonder'. Like Abraham, you may not get to see the fulfillment of the entire plan of God. But do all that He called you to do and do it well. Honor the Lord with your life and your living.
Blessings to you and your descendants!
This is a psalm of David consisting of 12 verses. The psalm may be divided into three sections or divisions. Some commentators believe David wrote this during the time that his son Absalom rebelled against him. David was extremely distressed. To have your child turn against you is a very deep wound. When a child of yours that you have raised, nurtured, cared for, provided for and sacrificed for turns against you it creates an intense pain. David was possibly experiencing that kind of anguish at the writing of this psalm.
Psalm 62:1-4 New Living Translation. This is the first division of the psalm.
1 I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
3 So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
4 They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.
Other people who David employed, trusted and provided for sided with and supported Absalom in his rebellion. Because of this David experienced layers of betrayal. Here David expresses that God is the only one he can fully rely on. God is the only one who will never plot against him. God is the only one David can look to as his Protector and Defender.
The second division of this Psalm consists of verses 5-8.
5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.
In these verses David uses several metaphors to describe the Lord and His characteristics. He expresses the Lord’s stability, protection and strength. He is my Rock, my Fortress, my Defense, my Salvation. The Lord God is my place of Safety.
For most of us it is easy to defend and strengthen ourselves against an unrelated enemy. Our strategy is different when opposing an enemy with whom we don’t have a relationship. Against a random stranger we can pull out all the stops and launch our most devastating attack. But what about when the person holding the knife in your back is a close relative or a former confidante? David loved Absalom and respected Abner. Abner was a mighty warrior who had served in battle with David. At the time of David’s distress, Abner had joined forces with and was advising Absalom against David.
David loved his son and refused to retaliate against him. At first he did nothing to squash Absalom’s rebellion. Eventually Joab, who was David’s nephew and the captain of his army, and his men did engage in conflict with Absalom and those who followed him. David gave strict instructions that Absalom was not to be injured (II Samuel 18:12).
David was a formidable foe and he had defeated many in battle. But his heart was tender toward his son. This was his beloved son. How could he lay aside his heart stirrings and wage war against his own flesh and blood?
The last section of the psalm includes verses 9-12.
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales,
together they are lighter than a breath of air.
10 Don’t make your living by extortion
or put your hope in stealing.
And if your wealth increases,
don’t make it the center of your life.
11 God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to you;
12 unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.
Surely you repay all people
according to what they have done.
In these final verses David expresses that basically all people are the same regardless of their social or economic situation. He warns against taking advantage of others. David advises the value of getting and keeping a correct perspective about power and wealth. We all have some power and some influence. It is a grave responsibility to use them wisely. Almost daily we see where people in authority misused their influence to increase their own standing and to decrease someone else’s. Verse 12 is a reminder that we reap what we sow.
David had the ability and the means to totally halt Absalom’s revolt. But he didn’t. David could have quickly crushed Absalom and all his followers. But he didn’t because he loved his son. He didn’t because David didn’t want his reign as king to be forever tainted with the shedding of his son’s blood. David’s hopes and prayers were that Absalom would realize his error, beg his father’s forgiveness and submit to David’s leadership.
Absalom, no doubt, felt justified in his attempt to overthrow his father and set up his own kingdom. Absalom’s sister had been raped and rejected by one of David’s other sons. David was angry but did nothing to restore Tamar (the sister) or punish Amnon, the offender. An unhealed wound continues to fester. Absalom hated Amnon but never said anything to him about his crime. But Absalom’s heart was black with the hatred of revenge toward Amnon. Absalom plotted and planned and two years after the attack against Tamar Absalom arranged and facilitated Amnon’s murder. (II Samuel 13). David’s lack of action in this situation prompted Absalom to take matters into his own hands. Absalom also knew that David would not make any drastic moves against him. Absalom may have felt that his father had become soft, weak and indecisive in his latter years. He probably thought that the kingdom needed someone more prone to decisiveness and action…like himself. However, for many reasons, Absalom’s quest ended tragically. He was killed and never fully realized his plans of kingship. The primary reason is because David was the one God chose to be king over Israel. No one could have displaced him.
It is evident that David made a lot of mistakes. We all do. But somehow God had communicated to David that even though he had the ability to wield his power against any opposers he did not have free reign to do so.
Psalm 62:11 God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongs unto God.
As shown above, the NLT states verse 11 this way:
11 God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to you;
God has afforded each one of us power and ability to accomplish some things. But power belongs to God. In the eyes of many David appeared unnaturally placid. His lack of action during this time of rebellion seemed untimely. If you are already king, you don’t have to prove it. Instead of displaying his power, David chose patience, humility, restraint and prayer. We may be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate the same wisdom and spare someone’s feelings, reputation, livelihood or even their life. What are you doing with your power?
There are many measures to take place. Some good and some not so good. All will come together to perform the whole will of the Lord. All the righteous will survive and thrive in the ways of the Lord. All the wicked will fall by the sword, by pestilence or by their own hand.
The guards are guarding (the angels of the Lord commissioned to protect His people).
The sin of greed and power has overcome some. They are willing to gain power at any cost. They have no qualms at all about mass murder disguised as a medical emergency. They have no conscience about creating panic and taking lives to further their own agendas of greed and power. They are the tools of satan.
Be not afraid of their faces, their words, their plots or their plans. The Word of God and the plan of God will prevail. All of My people are safe. All the ones who have put their trust in Me are fully protected. I am in control of all life and living. No one is able to overcome, overpower or overthrow what I have ordained and determined. That is why I have it already recorded in My book. It is already done. The victory is already won. Cast all your cares on Me. There is no fear for the people of God.
My wisdom will prevail and guide you as you hear and obey My voice. They are seemingly small steps of obedience but they will yield huge results. Don’t dismiss anything that I tell you or show you. I will show you what to do and where to go. Don’t deviate from what I tell you. If I say 10, stick with 10, not 9 and not 11…10.
There is a path that the people of God are to follow. I am the only One who knows the way. I Am the Way. I Am the Truth and I Am the Life. Follow Me. Do not rely on your own version of truth. Do not rely on the opinions of those who don’t know Me. You are chosen and I will not let you fall.
Understanding the Power of the Authority To Edify
Paul so strictly understood the effectiveness of this authority, that he restated his position recorded earlier (II Corinthians 10:8) at the end of his letter. In the last chapter, II Corinthians 13:10, right before his farewell acknowledgments, he wrote this:
II Corinthians 13:10 KJV –
Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
This is similar to how a wise parent may wait to discuss an issue with an offending child. A wise parent does not want to exact punishment at the height of their anger or frustration. They wait until they have calmed down and the child has calmed down. The parent may need time to prepare their words and organize their thoughts so the child actually learns and benefits from the interaction. In many cases a good parent also wants to comfort the child. You don’t want to send them away with feelings of anxiety. A wise parent builds them up by letting them know their behavior in this instance did not reflect who they are or who God made them to be. Some type of punishment is necessary because children and adults need to understand there are consequences associated with our actions. But good parents get no pleasure out of punishment. But it is a necessary tool to help teach obedience, boundaries, self-control and consequences.
How To Demonstrate the Authority To Edify
- Words – this is usually the quickest way and often produces an immediate positive response. Speak well of people. Acknowledge their achievements and advances. Be sincere and kind.
- Actions – show people that you value them and recognize their strengths, gifts and talents. We can do this by recommending them for a task, an assignment, a job, a service. Ask them to assist you in a project. This doesn’t usually produce the same quick result as words but the effect may be longer-lasting and more substantial. This is because the invitation or recommendation indicates your confidence in them and their ability to learn and / or complete the task. Their participation not only boosts their confidence but also creates an experience that they can always recall and draw from. It is helpful when facing a challenge to be able to remember another difficult assignment that you completed successfully.
- Prayer – we all can do this. We can talk to our Father and ask Him to edify this person in whatever ways the Holy Spirit reveals to us. The other two demonstrations (words and actions) sometimes may be hindered by logistics. But prayer is unhindered. We can edify or build up or encourage people through prayer. They may wake up feeling so good and assured in God. They may enjoy a calm, stress-free day and be blessed with the sunniest of dispositions. Don’t discount the edification through prayer just because you may not have the opportunity to see the results up close. Prayer is absolutely effective as an Authority To Edify.
Why Is This Important To the Remnant?
Those who remain, the remnant, are not randomly selected. We are not here by happenstance or accidentally or coincidentally. We are specifically selected because of our willingness to serve, our willingness to follow instructions and our passion for and interest in the things that the Lord directs our attention to. He chose us to make a difference here and now. Right where you are.
We are here because there are assignments with our names on them. Assignments that require diligence, perseverance and tenacity. The assignments may not be easy but they are doable. When we are edified, we are strengthened. We can go further, last longer and stay stronger.
Since we have the authority and we know the importance of its power, we are charged with exercising it faithfully and frequently. We are one body with many assignments. Each body part works best when rested, hydrated, strengthened, connected, afforded optimal circulation and generally healthy. Edification promotes all of those. We have been given delegated authority to edify, build up, strengthen the structure of the body of Christ. This helps us all to fulfill God’s calling and purposes on our lives.
Thank you for visiting this site. I pray that your resolve to edify the body has been strengthened!
9 Characteristics of the Authority To Edify
So much can be learned from Paul's example in ministry. His writings and what has been written about him provide a wealth of information. Most of us have not been given the same broad scope of ministry that was entrusted to Paul. However, the principles that he demonstrated are substantially helpful for anyone dealing with people. As mentioned in the previous post, we all will give an account of how we handled our assignments. To minister is to serve. Some people seem to think that ministry means to "be served". The qualities expressed in these passages reflect a passion and a purpose that is in harmonny with the heart of God for His people.
Key scriptures: II Corinthians 1:23 – 2:4 (KJV)
23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
Characteristics: pure honesty and truth. Paul isn’t trying to use reverse psychology to get them to think or do as he wishes. He doesn’t try to use deception, guilt or anger that so many use to manipulate the people.
Paul puts their well-being ahead of his own plans and personal ministry desires. A true shepherd is primarily concerned about the comfort, safety and health of the sheep. Paul demonstrated a shepherd’s concern.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
Characteristic: humility. Paul acknowledged that he is not the big dog who is calling all the shots. He points out that he has no rulership over their faith or faithfulness. This encourages each believer to take responsibility for their own faith, including the growth, depth and maturing of that faith or belief system. Without direct, intentional attention, faith will stay the same, stagnate or wither, shrivel and shrink. Paul doesn’t see himself as a principal over them. He deems himself a co-laborer, a fellow-worker and a brother in the Lord.
2 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
Characteristic: patience. Even though Paul’s desire was urgent to interact with them in person, he was willing to wait until there was a release in his spirit from the Holy Ghost.
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
Characteristic: sensitivity. Paul is attuned to the timing that would be the most beneficial for his readers. He does not push ahead just to suit his own agenda or schedule or preferences.
3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
Characteristics: self-discipline and maturity. Even though Paul wanted an in-person visit, he resisted going. Maturity let him know that a poorly timed visit would not yield the results he hoped for. He did not want to cause sorrow or dread or heaviness by coming too soon. The delayed personal encounter gave them time to correct the concerns expressed in his writings to them.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
Characteristics: wisdom and empathy. Paul put himself in their place imagining how his presence would affect their hearts, spirits and morale if he arrived too soon. Paul was not oblivious or uncaring about their spiritual condition or their likely reactions to seeing him in person. It would be like having to face a parent who had confidence and trust in you as a child and you violated that trust. If the relationship is healthy, the child is shamed, grieved, embarrassed and possibly fearful at the prospect of facing the parent. Paul did not want that for them. And it wasn’t necessary since he addressed the pertinent issues in his letters.
It is easy to become disgruntled or disappointed when serving. There are so many varying situations and types of people that require your attention. God has shown us, through Paul, what it looks like to wisely and carefully exercise the Authority To Edify.
The new year is fast approaching. May the abundance of the Holy Father bless you and your household with more than enough. May the wisdom of the Spirit of Truth usher you into an arena of Grace and Truth that will transform lives, comfort hearts and bring clarity of thought to each person who is a receipient of your ministry. God Bless You!