Questions for Littles: How did Abraham obey (v8)? To what place was he called to go? What did he not know at the time? In what manner did Abraham dwell in a foreign country (v9)? In what did he dwell with Isaac and Jacob? What were they with them? For what kind of structures/city did he wait instead (v10)? What did Sarah need, in order to conceive (v11)? What did she judge about whom? What was Abraham’s condition when he fathered Isaac (v12)? How is the greatness of the multitude of his descendants described? From where does this language come (cf. Gen 15:5; Gen 22:17)? What did all of these people do in faith (v13)? What had they not received? From where did they see the promised things? Of what were they sure? What did they embrace? What did they confess? What did they declare plainly (v14)? What country were they not seeking (v15)? How do we know that? What kind of country do they desire (v16)? When are they doing this desiring? Of what is God not ashamed? What has He prepared for them?In the sermon text this week, we learned that a big part of biblical faith has to do with where (Whom!) we consider home.
Abraham is called to go to a place. But he doesn’t even know where that place is (v8)—only who is calling him. When he gets there, he puts down no roots, but rather goes on a life-long, multi-generational camping trip.
Now, we might think that his hope is on the day that the people return from Egypt and take Canaan, but earlier in the book, we already learned that Joshua did not bring the people into their promised rest (4:8-11).
On the contrary, this is no man-made city at all. That’s the nature of faith, isn’t it? It’s not trusting that I will be able to do something, but that God will do something for me. The builder of the city and country that Abraham hoped for is God Himself.
Sarah didn’t stir herself up to a great achievement by faith; no, she believed that God was faithful to do what He promised, and then God did in her what He had promised.
We need to come to terms with the fact that Biblical faith is not the “confidence in God that I can accomplish ___________.” Whatever we fill into that blank, we will be quite disappointed when it comes time for us to die. But “these all died in faith not having received the promises.”
How does that work? Biblical faith is for someTHING that is eternal, because biblical faith is in someONE that is eternal. That’s where our passage is taking us, because it points us to a hope that is not only beyond death, but one that is specifically called heavenly.
What is this heavenly homeland? That’s a what question with a who answer! That’s what the end of v16 is getting at. The “city” that God has prepared for us is the one in which He is the primary feature. He is in the center of that city. He is the light of that city.
Moses understood this. He never entered the promised land. By the end of his life, the people of Israel had only ever been sojourners and slaves. But it is his psalm, psalm 90, that confesses, “Lord, YOU have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
Dear reader, is your hope that the Lord God Himself is your forever-home?
What temporal earthly hopes do you have that need to be put in their place behind the eternal enjoyment of God as the ultimate object of your biblical faith?Suggested Songs: ARP90A “Lord You Have Been Our Dwelling Place” or HB216 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”