Abraham – Holding Fast To The Will Of God

Lesson 13: “Aliens and Strangers” Genesis 23


“I am an alien and a stranger among you…” Genesis 23:4


Just passing through

·        Sarah passed away at age 127 near Hebron (23:1,2). Abraham needs to make arrangements for her burial, and he goes to talk to the Hittites (23:3)

·        Apparently the Hittites were in control of the region. They were among the Canaanite tribes (descendants of Ham, Gen. 10:16) that the Israelites were later to drive out (Deut. 20:17)

·        Abraham says to them that he is an "alien" and a "stranger" (23:4) Think about what he is saying. "Alien" means foreigner. "Stranger" means temporary resident.


Looking forward

·        Abraham's thoughts were not on his material possessions. He did not live like someone who valued worldly comforts. Read Heb. 11:9-10.

·        Lot chose the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham remained in his tents, a temporary shelter that could easily be moved. Abraham was looking forward to a permanent place in the presence of God. See Heb. 11:13-16


The covenant promise

·        Abraham negotiated to buy only part of a Hittite field, so he would not be responsible for paying the dues on the land. Yet, he buried Sarah there when the custom was to be buried with one's ancestor. Abraham was making a statement that this was his homeland, because God had promised it to him.

·        Yet, Abraham is paying for land that God had promised him. Is it because Abraham does not want to be indebted to the Canaanites, just as he refused the wealth of the king of Sodom?

·        What did the land of Israel mean to Abraham? It was the home that God promised him, and led him to, yet Abraham looked forward to another home. See John 8:56


Making our way

·        We may not be "of this world", but we are still "in it". Why are we asked to stay in these strange lands? The reason goes to the heart of the story of Abraham. Because of God's plan of redemption. We play a role in bringing the Good News to those who don't yet know God.

·        But how are we to make it through a godless world? We'll talk more about this next week, but Solomon gave us part of the answer in the book of Ecclesiastes.

·        See Eccl. 1:14. In his search for fulfillment, Solomon tried just about everything "under the sun" his day and age had to offer. In the end, he found it all to be empty and meaningless. (e.g. Eccl 4:4)

·        What did Solomon conclude in the end? See Eccl. 12:13.

·        We should not feel comfortable here. We should feel out of place. Be careful of trying to make this life more comfortable by our own efforts, and in the process neglecting God's way.

2 Principles


#1) We should view our time on Earth as a temporary stop. We should not feel at home here.

#2) Part of our faith is looking forward to the eternal, not keeping our eyes on things "under the sun".


For next week, read Judges 21:25