Tuesday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 11:8-16

By Faith…

The Preacher gives us a perspective on the Old Testament saints in this passage that we might not have considered without his wisdom.  Oh, we admire the faith of those saints: Abraham setting out on a journey not knowing where he was going, living in tents when he got there, always considered a stranger by the inhabitants of the land God had promised to him and his descendants; and then barren Sarah giving birth at the age of ninety.  Who would believe, let alone embrace, such challenges at their advanced years?  And they, themselves, would never even live to see the fulfillment of the promise which was to their heirs and to the nation after them.  But he believed God, and God “counted to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). 

So they died never having received the things promised.  But the Preacher tells us something even more remarkable about their faith—that even though they were not to see the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s bounty to them, yet, “having seen them [they] 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…a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” 

In a real way, Abraham’s life is a picture of ours from 4000 years ago.  He was an alien in a strange land and so are we; he sojourned among the pagan inhabitants of the land and so do we; he looked forward to a promise and so do we (the second coming); he ever longed for a better land and so do we; and he was blessed above the inhabitants of the land and so are we.  Abraham could have returned to Haran in Syria or even Ur in the land of the Chaldeans, but he was looking for that better country.  And I suppose we could return as well—to that former life of sin and misery.  But then again we really can’t.  God has set His seal upon us otherwise called his Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22).  We can’t turn back, and we don’t want to.  We know there’s a better land ahead which makes even this life worth living. 

And so we, like those Old Testament saints, are also pilgrims, living in tents (our bodies), and waiting for our entrance into the heavenly homeland which is God’s promise to us.  And it is living by this forward-looking faith that makes God desire to embrace us, who is “not ashamed to be called [our] God, for He has prepared for [us] a city,” right along with Abraham, Sarah, and all those saints who walked by faith, desiring a better country.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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