A BETTER HEAVENLY COUNTRY
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16
By faith the old saints saw the promised realities from a distance and persisted in their pilgrim character, looking for a country of their own and refusing to return to the land they had left. So too the readers should renounce the opportunity to go back to any form of their ancestral religion and should persist in longing for a better country — a heavenly one. If they did so they, like the patriarchs, would be people with whom God would not be ashamed to be associated.
These people of faith died without receiving all that God had promised, but they never lost their vision of heaven, a better place, a heavenly homeland. Many Christians become frustrated and defeated because of their needs, wants, expectations, and demands are not immediately met when they accept Christ as Savior. They become impatient and want to quit. Are you discouraged because the achievement of your goal seems far away? Take courage from these heroes of faith, who lived and died without seeing the fruit of their faith on earth and yet continued to believe.
This spirit of pilgrimage is especially pleasing to God. Darby writes, “He is not ashamed to be called the God of those whose heart and portion are in heaven.” He has prepared a city for them, and there they find rest and satisfaction and perfect peace. As they served God and walked with Him in this land, they knew that this world was not their home, and they looked forward to that better place. Because of these people’s faith, God is not ashamed to be called their God, and he has prepared a heavenly city for them.
Anyone can turn around and go back to the world if he is satisfied with the things of the world. However, a child of God, by faith, is going ever onward. The true explanation is that they were seeking a heavenly homeland. This is rather remarkable when we remember that most of the promises to the people of Israel had to do with material blessings on this earth. But they had a heavenly hope as well, and this hope enabled them to treat this world as a foreign country.
Has the world been so attractive to you that you have decided to reside here forever? Lord, help us to know that this world is not our home. As we walk with Thee, lead us to move on to a Heavenly City, to be with the author and finisher of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.