Abraham’s Strong Testimony
Abraham, one who had suffered the loss of his dear wife, had a very strong testimony.
When he got up from his place beside her, he spoke to the Hittites who had been his neighbors for many years.
Abraham: I am a stranger and an outsider living here among you. In my heartache, I am asking you please to allow me to obtain some property here among you as a gravesite for my dead wife. This would allow me to give her a proper burial.
The Hittites conferred and answered Abraham.
Hittites: Listen, my lord. We recognize you are a powerful prince among us, and God is certainly with you. Bury your dead in the best of our burial places. None of us will deny you any tomb so that you might properly bury your dead.
Genesis 23:3-6 (VOICE)
Abraham had lost his partner of 100 years or more. This must have been terribly hard on him, and yet he rose up from his mourning and got on with life. We cannot mourn over our dead forever; there comes a time when we must accept what has happened, face life, and fulfill our obligations to both the living and the dead. When people we love die, we only have two choices. Dig a hole and climb in next to them, or get on with life. Abraham lived another 39 years.
Because he was not a citizen of the land (Heb. 11:13), Abraham had to request a place to bury his wife. The truth was that Abraham owned the whole land. God had given it to him, but there was no way he could convince his neighbors of that.
Like Abraham, God’s people today are “pilgrims and strangers” in this present world (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). We live in “tents” (2 Cor. 5:1-8), which one-day will be taken down when we move to glory. When Paul wrote, “the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim. 4:6), he used a military word that meant, “to take down a tent and move on.” Our present body is temporary, but one day we will receive a glorified body like the body that Jesus Christ now has in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3).
The men of the land called Abraham “a mighty prince” (Gen. 23:6), which in the Hebrew is “a prince with God.” This is a great testimony as to the type of person Abraham was, and they respected him. Even though this world is not our home, we must be careful as pilgrims and strangers to have a good witness to those who are outside the faith (1 Thes. 4:12; Col. 4:5; 1 Peter 2:11). These Hittites did not worship Abraham’s God, but they respected Abraham and his faith. In fact, they offered him the use of one of their own tombs (Gen. 23:6); but Abraham refused.
It is a wonderful thing in a time of sorrow when the child of God has a strong witness to the lost. There is a natural sorrow that everyone expects us to manifest, but there is also a supernatural grace that God gives so that we might have joy in the midst of sorrow. The unsaved can tell the difference, and this gives us opportunity for sharing the good news of the Gospel.