Bad negotiation

Genesis 23:10-13 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give  you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.” Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

NegotiationHave you ever negotiated something before?  I have, plenty of times.  I have negotiated cars, musical instruments, and random stuff in Mexico.  Here’s how a negotiation is supposed to work: the buyer looks at the seller’s price and offers less.  The seller counters with a higher price and the buyer counters again with a lower price.  Generally you meet in the middle somewhere.  Recently, I was negotiating on something and the seller actually ended up coming in below my starting price.  Holla!

This negotiation in Genesis 23 is just plain odd.  Abraham asks if he can buy some land to bury his wife who has passed away.  A guy named Ephron says, “You can have the land, Abe.  We really like and respect you, so just have it.  It’s all yours.”  Now any rational human being would simply say something like, “Thanks Ephron.  That’s very generous of you.”  But instead Abraham says, “No. I want to pay for it.”  I don’t think Abraham passed his Negotiation 101 class at community college.

So why would Abraham insist on paying for something that he could have had for free?  I think it was because Abraham knew that something of value costs something.  He knew that someday when Ephron wanted to change his mind on the land, he would be able to hold up the receipt and say, “I paid for this, you can’t take it back.”  Yes, things of value are worth paying for.

Jesus paid for something of value, too.  He paid for you.  It was a bad negotiation, really.  You had nothing to give in exchange, nothing to offer.  But He knew that you were worth everything, so He laid down His life for you.  He purchased your life and your freedom.  You are like that land that Abraham bought – you have value.  And like Abraham, Jesus wants to hang on to you forever.  You were worth a bad negotiation.

*What goes through your mind when you think about what Jesus did to pay for your life?

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