“Where are you from?” A simple, seemingly harmless question on the surface. But it can have huge implications…where you’re from may explain your accent or use of vocabulary, but more than that where you’re from explains your perspective or worldview…how you see the world and process information. It can foster great pride…nothing like FIFA fever to bring out a strong sense of nationalism, and in this country, 9/11 stirred a deep and powerful sense of patriotism…and ultimately I would argue, it can become, if it isn’t already, the place where our earthly kingdoms are built.
Abraham still saw himself as a stranger and a sojourner in the land even though he had been traveling there for 62 years. And as a stranger and sojourner, he is a type of all saints whose home is the heavenly city. Folks throughout church history have described themselves “strangers and sojourners” on an earthly pilgrimage toward the city of God. They saw themselves like Abraham…living in tents (Heb. 11:9)…think about how temporary that is…looking forward to their promised heavenly home, “the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
To see yourself as a stranger and a sojourner requires a heavenly perspective…it doesn’t mean that the earthy isn’t important…they really were looking for a piece of real estate…but it means that you don’t stop at the earthy. They were pursuing something much bigger than just a physical piece of property. They were pursuing a lasting inheritance. The land seen only from an earthy perspective, was only land. But seen from the heavenly, it was the land of promise. It represented a return to paradise. We too are looking for a lasting inheritance. And while temporary inheritances like family, jobs, friends, freedoms, etc. are important, they in themselves, fall far short of the hope that we have as heirs of the King of the universe. We are pursuing a lasting inheritance, a return to paradise. New heavens and new earth. New Jerusalem.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham and his clan and the saints of old died, not receiving the promises; yet they died in faith…their hope was not extinguished (Heb. 11:39–40). They did not realize the fullness of the promises…at this time Abraham owns only a cave and a field in the land of promise, far less than what God had promised. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, far less than the nations he was to father. It would be centuries later before the Head-crushing Seed of the woman would appear on the scene, Jesus of Nazareth. And even though Jesus has come, the fullness of the promise is still yet future. A Sabbath-rest yet remains…a return to paradise; yet those who believe enter into it even now and will fully realize it in the future (Heb. 4:8–10). God’s promises to His people are not exhausted in this life. As Abraham in hope bought a burial plot in the land, so believers today have a hope beyond this life. God’s promises demand resurrection!
What about you? Where are you from? Can it be said of you, “You’re not from around here” because of your walk with Creator God? Could people tell that you have an eternal hope by the way you live your life? Maybe you don’t have that hope today. If not, today could be the day. You too could join the ranks of those who are sojourning through this life, strangers and sojourners… ambassadors in a war torn country, living as citizens of a heavenly kingdom that’s making an earthy impact. I would love to talk to you about that.
My prayer for us is just that…that we would live as citizens of a heavenly kingdom making an earthy impact.
Until next time…stay salty.