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Heavenly Country

Weekly Devotionals

Heavenly Country

Hebrews 11:13-16

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

In this famous section of Scripture, Hebrews 11 (the entire chapter), also called the Hall of Faith, we see that this life of faith is not only for the spiritually elite.  The author listed many examples, and all of them were fairly common types.  Abel was the youngest child and a shepherd.  Noah was probably a carpenter.  Abraham was very wealthy.  Isaac was an only child.  Jacob was a liar and a cheat.  Joseph went from loved son to slave to prison to leader of the land.  Moses was a prince, turned shepherd with a speech impediment.  Rahab was a prostitute.  David was a shepherd and harpist turned king who committed adultery and murder.  None of these people were spiritually elite per se.  They were regular people like you and me.  Yet they had faith.  They looked to the future of God’s promises and lived their lives in light of those promises.

But what is most impressive and simultaneously sobering about their stories is the fact that they did not receive what was promised to them, at least not while they were on earth.  In fact, for some of them, they received the opposite…suffering.  And this can be one of the hardest things about being a Christian – we don’t get the goods during this lifetime.  We might get some of it, but not the main reward.  And yet all of us are called to the same life of waiting.  Waiting for what?  According to verse 16, “they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.”  Some of them died for it.  All of them lived for it.  But with regard to this world, they considered themselves to be aliens and strangers.

How about you?  Is this world your home?  Have you nestled yourself in?  Is this where you feel most comfortable, where you want to be?  Is this all you ever wanted and all you’ll ever want?  House, cars, education, titles, trophies, bank accounts, stocks, investments, nightlife.  None of these things are bad to have per se, but is this all you care about? Are you satisfied with the substitutes that this world has to offer?  Or are you waiting for the heavenly country?  It doesn’t take elitist spirituality to be kingdom minded.  But it does take faith – being confident in what you hope for and sure of what you cannot see.  Let’s take inventory of our lives and time to readjust our eyes, to see what is of real value.  The stuff of this world does not last.  Only that of the Kingdom.