The Promised Land

Read: Genesis 25:7-10

The field that Abraham purchased . . . (v. 10)

Abraham, says Hebrews 11:9 (NRSV), “stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents” with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Curious translation; “for a time” makes it sound like a month or two, when it was actually the best part of a hundred years! In fact, he is doubtless still there today, in one of the ancient tombs in Hebron. The cave of Machpelah, where first Sarah and then he and the rest of the family were buried, was the only part of the Promised Land that Abraham ever actually owned.

Were all his hopes “shrunk to this little measure,” as Mark Antony said over the body of Julius Caesar?

So far from shrinking to the size of a grave, the land Abraham had been promised was to be something infinitely greater than the territory of Canaan, greater even than the empire David would base there. As Hebrews tells us, these Old Testament saints recognized that they were “strangers and foreigners on the earth . . . seeking a homeland . . . a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

The day will come when the whole earth will be filled with the glory of God; when, indeed, all creation will be remade as the everlasting inheritance of all who are by faith the children of Abraham. —Michael Wilcock

As you pray, praise God for the promise of the world to come.

About the Author

Rev. Michael Wilcock was formerly director of pastoral studies at Trinity College, Bristol, and vicar of St. Nicholas' Church, Durham. He is now based in Eastbourne, England, as a writer and speaker.