Monday, November 11, 2013

Land Ho!

As the first pilgrims sighted land their hearts must have swelled with promise.  At last their long voyage would be ended.  But their hardship was anything but over.   That land would soak up their sweat . . . and their blood.  Generations to come would fight, yes even die, to defend it, to keep it free. 

Abraham, of the Old Testament, was promised a land, but he was only a nomad within it, living among foreigners.  Now, as his wife Sarah breathed her last, he faced a dilemma.  How could he bury his wife in a land not his own? 

God proved himself faithful as the 'Lord of his laughter', but what of his sorrow?

Would Abraham now return to Haran, the place of his relatives, to bury his dead, claiming it as home?  Never!  For God had specifically called him out of Haran . . . to the land of Canaan.  (Gen. 12:1-3)

Yet, Sarah's death holds double grief for Abraham.  Through the lines of Scripture, I can hear the ache and frustration in his voice, "What am I to do?  I own not a stitch of land in Canaan!  How can I bury my wife without returning to Haran?  You promised land, Lord.  Where is the answer to your promise?(Gen. 23:1-3 paraphrased)

Abraham is emphatic about stamping down a stake, claiming Canaan as home . . . an act of faith.  He buys a cave to bury Sarah, insists on buying it, but the cave cannot be bought without the field where it lay.  And so the only real estate Abraham owns is a grave yard.  Land ho!  (Gen. 23:17-20)

I cannot get over the significance of this story for our own lives today.  If we are to own territory in the Christian life, if we are to gain ground in growth . . . we must die.

The point at which we surrender to God, releasing our own selfish desires, the illogical, and the circumstances that echo lies of God's character, is where we take possession of the land.

In belief against all odds, the type of death spoken of above, is when we bear down on faith with our full weight.  This is crucial for, "without faith, it is impossible to please Him"  (Heb.11:6a) 

Abraham burned a bridge.  There was no turning back.  By burying Sarah in Canaan, he was declaring it his home, an expression of faith.  So in death, he was given the fulfillment of promise . . . land.   And God became the 'Lord of his sorrow'.  

You awaken my heart from slumbering
Meet me in the mourning and You speak to my grief
You're the light in my darkness, the delight of my eyes
The hope of the daybreak when the sun's slow to rise
I trust that every moment's in Your hands.

by Gateway Worship

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