Hebrews 11, 13-16
Something to read
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 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.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Many people seem to live on this earth as if this is their permanent home – but it isn’t! Like the people spoken about in this chapter, we are just strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We are merely passing through, because we belong somewhere else. The Bible is quite clear that God has prepared a heavenly home for us, and that our lives should be directed towards getting ready for that heavenly city.
There are many sayings of Jesus that have come down to us from sources other than the New Testament. One of them states, 'The world is a bridge. The wise man will pass over it but will not build his house upon it.' Whether Jesus actually said those words or not, there is a lot of truth in them.
We clearly need to live wholeheartedly on this earth and give the best of our efforts and attention to all that we do. But we need to keep our eye on the eternal dimension, which gives the real significance to what we do day by day.
The key point about the strangers and pilgrims that we meet in Hebrews 11 is that they lived by faith, and that meant that life had a clear sense of direction. They knew that the God in whom they had faith would always be with them and would lead them securely through this life and then in the life to come.
Something to do
Look at a newspaper and spend a few moments gazing at the columns of those who have recently died. Thank God for their lives and remind yourself that you need to live each day with the confident hope of an heavenly home.
Something to pray
Lord, we confess that we get so immersed in all the demands and activities of life that we often forget that our lives are temporary. Thank you that you have prepared a heavenly home for us, and we pray that we may live our lives with that wonderful thought in our minds.
We thank you for those who we know who have lived their lives by faith, and who have now passed to their eternal home. We thank you for the vitality and strength of their lives and for all the ways in which our lives were enriched by theirs.
Help us to live this and every day in the light of eternity.
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Today's contributor is the Rev Jonathan Edwards, former General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.