And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” Genesis 23:13
Ephron, a landowner in Hebron, tried to talk to Abraham into accepting a piece of land as a gift, free of charge. Ephron was saying, “Something this trivial shouldn’t come between us. You are a prince of God, and I am rich. Even if you paid me ten pounds of silver for the land, that money wouldn’t matter to me.” This was a great show of respect for Abraham, a prophet and teacher. But Abraham used good sense and refused the offer. He preferred to own the land and purchase it at a fair price.
Abraham could have said, “I know that you are generous, devout, and kind. Yet I’ve known people in other places who taught me a hard lesson about how unpredictable people can be. So I’ve learned to be cautious. In Egypt and great, the people treated me with respect and dignity at first, but in the end, they threw me out. I helped the people of Sodom, but all they showed me was ingratitude and abuse. If I accept this field as a gift, then your descendants may forget your unselfish gift to me after you’re gone. They may decide to take back the land by force, exhume Sarah’s body, and take it away. We are foreigners in a strange country. To prevent something like that from happening, I prefer to purchase this piece of land. Then your descendants will have no right to demand that the property be returned.”
Even in purely secular matters, godly people should treat others with respect. As God’s people live in the world, they should conduct their business carefully. Like Abraham, they should use common sense, be courteous, and show respect in their dealings with each other and with everyone else.
In the late afternoon ofApril 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.