Well, by God’s gracious hand we have the new day. It is the day of the annual celebration of our nation’s birthday . . . July 4th. Much to-do is made over this particular holiday and I hope you are able to enjoy it and yet, keep it all in a proper perspective. I say that because as well off as we are to have our lot in this current land, there is something even better, “a better country” that we desire . . . . .
- “By faith Abraham, when he was called obeyed . . . By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land” (Hebrews 11:8-9 – NASB)
The great patriarch Abraham was “called” by God, and in response he “obeyed” God. In this realm of obedience he “lived as an alien in the land of promise.” What a strange thing! Why isn’t “the land of promise,” the desired dwelling place, the place one would want to sink their roots into? It would seem to be the place of choice . . . . but, Abraham “lived as an alien” there, as in “a foreign land.” How are we to understand this unsettled condition . . . .
- “for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10 – NASB)
Dwelling “in the land of promise” Abraham was “looking for the city which has foundations.” Abraham “was looking for” a “city” that would not decay and pass away like those of the earth, but a “city . . . whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham knew that this “city” was the real “land of promise,” that it was not one that would ever be corrupted, would ever, as all nations eventually do, spiral downward to destruction. He knew that this “city” had everlasting “foundations,” and He knew its “builder” was “God.”
Brethren, as we set ourselves to celebrate the birth of this nation I’m sure you are aware that, biblically speaking, America is not in a very stable state. Her leaders and her people in large part have chosen to reject God and His Christ. The “foundations” of 1776 have been eroded and righteousness is not the norm of the land, and we, as Christians, find ourselves to be “aliens” in what has often been called, “the land of promise.”
As we who are in Christ involve ourselves in the celebration of the 4th of July, let us be thankful for this country God has allowed us to live in, but in that same breath, let us call to mind the Scriptures and let us understand that this is not “the land of promise.” Let us be of the same mind that Abraham and the other great heroes of faith were,
- ” . . . they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 13-16 – NASB)
Enjoy the 4th, but do so as “strangers . . . exiles” in a “foreign land . . . seeking a country of (our) own . . . desir(ing) a better country, that is a heavenly one . . . whose architect and builder is God.” As the Scriptures confirm, that “country” will never cease to be . . . its “foundations” are sure . . . for God “has prepared” it.
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