Abraham accepted Ephron’s offer and paid him the four hundred pieces of silver… That’s how Abraham got Ephron’s property east of Hebron, which included the field with all of its trees, as well as Machpelah Cave at the end of the field.
~Genesis 23:16-18, CEV
Do the right thing: it will gratify some folks and astonish the rest.
The first thing I want to note is that this property is the only property Abraham owed while he sojourned here on earth. In light of his enormous wealth, that is shocking. The Hittites respected Abraham. They knew that God’s hand was on him and they were afraid to mess with him which was wise on their part. To persecute Abraham is to invoke a curse on one’s self which is very unwise. When Abraham approaches Ephron to buy the land, Ephron insist on giving the land to Abraham. To counter, Abraham insist on paying for the land and he refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer. My question is why; why didn’t Abraham accept it as a gift? I don’t have the answer but I can take a guess. I am not above conjecture. Although Abraham got along with the Hittites, I don’t think he fully trusted them. Do you have some relationships like that? You get along with these individuals but you don’t fully trust them. Abraham wanted more than Ephron’s word, he wanted a legal document. The fascinating thing is that Ephron charges Abraham $128,000 for the small piece of property. He reminds me of cousin Eddie. Cousin Eddie protest when Clark tells him that he will buy Eddie’s children’s Christmas. Eddie insist that he cannot take charity but when Clark insist on buying toys for the kids, Eddie reaches in his pocket and pulls out a list. I could get along with Eddie but I don’t think I would trust him. I think Abraham knew all along that Ephron was a cousin Eddie and so Abraham went by the book.
Relationships can be hard sometimes. They become especially hard when we lose confidence in the one we are relating to. We always want to do the right thing and sometimes, maybe not always, the right thing may be the legal thing. A long, long time ago, a man [representing the church that was calling me] presented me with a contract and wanted me to sign it. Unfortunately, I took it the wrong way and refused. I said, “I have your word, I don’t need a contract.” He said, “The contract is for your benefit, not mine. If you don’t want to sign it, that is fine with me.” I should have signed the contract because it detailed all the conditions and promises made to me. Within a year or two it came back to bit me. The man was indeed looking out for my interest. Sometimes it pays to go by the book.
If I were to see someone building an Ark, I might be tempted to get in it. The weather folks finally get one right. The Blizzard of 19 became a joke but the flood of 19 is becoming a reality. I visited at least two homes this week where the ministry teams have left goodies. Way to go DBC, I am proud of you. The shut-ins are loving it.