Entered faith’s “Hall of Fame” this morning. Started in on Hebrews 11. And paused to chew on the “Abraham Exhibit.” Not much to look at really. An old man . . . along with his aged wife. A few servants . . . some livestock . . . and a smattering of earthly possessions. Having left the land of his natural inheritance he wanders into a foreign land looking for a new inheritance . . . one promised of God. There he is, sitting outside his tent, but a spec in a vast land controlled by other nations and powers. Yet, he believes, he is living in the land of promise. Not much to look at right now . . . none of it belonging to him yet . . . even the ground his tent is on is but a “rental.” But someday, maybe not in his lifetime, but someday it will be in his family. And that’s why this “exhibit” is so soul-stirring and inspiring. Because, as one pilgrim to another, Abraham’s legacy cries out to all those who believe the promise and are seeking a homeland.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16 ESV)
By faith, Abraham was “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (11:10). That was the end game. And so, he went out not knowing where he was going (11:8b) . . . he left the sure thing and ventured out into the “by faith thing” . . . he traded stability for being a stranger . . . he traded predictability for the life of pilgrim. All because he was seeking a homeland.
And my heart is stirred because, by faith, I too am a pursuer of the promise of God that there awaits me an inheritance better than anything this world could offer (1Peter 1:3-5). That there is a city . . . a holy city . . . a heavenly city . . . a city where God dwells with men . . . where every tear is wiped away . . . where death exists no more . . . where old things have passed away . . . and where all things have become new. (Swim in Revelation 21, and the first part of chapter 22, to get an idea about that city).
It’s a city that God is preparing for me . . . and for all who have believed the promise of eternal life through the finished work of Christ on the cross. For those who, by faith, have asked for forgiveness of sins and have bowed the knee to Jesus as Lord of their lives. A place that even now Jesus is preparing for His people, promising that we will one day be with Him (John 14:1-3).
For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland . . .
And so, our heart is set on pilgrimage. Though we enjoy the blessings and beauty of this “foreign land,” we’re not to get too attached to it. Instead, it should be but a foretaste of what lies ahead . . . of that which is worthy of pursuing and investing in. We are not to look too intently at what might have been if we had chosen to “move in” here. Instead, we are to set our hearts on what it will be to inhabit that place being prepared for us. Hungering to walk in that better country . . . to live eternally in that heavenly land. Desiring above all desires to be called the people of God in the city God has prepared for us.
Seeking a homeland . . . looking for a city . . . by faith, pursuing the promise of God.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .