Heaven’s Heroes: Abraham Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Abraham’s faith expressed itself in OBEDIENCE and PATIENCE.
Christians are also sojourners like our father Abraham. King David declared, “We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace” (1 Chronicles 29:15, NLT). The Apostle Peter described Christians as “strangers and pilgrims” in the world (1 Peter 2:11). Abraham was content with living as a sojourner because his eyes were focused on something better. “. . . he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” The city Abraham patiently waited for was the heavenly city. Abraham left his tent behind and today dwells in the city of God.
Abraham’s ultimate Promised Land was heaven, just as ours is.
Colossians 3:2—“Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Hebrews 13:14—“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
E. M. Bounds said, “Earth is but a pilgrim’s stay, a pilgrim’s journey, a pilgrim’s tent. Heaven is a city, permanent, God-planned, God-built, whose foundations are as stable as God’s throne” The Apostle Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven. . . .” (Philippians 3:20). If you are a Christian, your real home is in heaven. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Hebrews 11:16—“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” C. S. Lewis said, “I find in myself a desire for which no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
We can only dream of what this other world must be like. A little girl was taking an evening walk with her father. Wonderingly, she looked up at the stars and exclaimed: “Oh, Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what must the right side be!” John wrote this about the heavenly city in Revelation 21:1-4:
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;
3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
We tend to think of the heavenly city in terms of what won’t be there: no death, no sorrow, no crying, no pain. But I like how the prophet Ezekiel describes it: “THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezekiel 48:35). The famous blind hymnist Fanny Crosby attended a mid-week prayer meeting service in 1891 at which Dr. Howard Crosby spoke from the Twenty-third Psalm. Later that week, Fanny was stunned when Dr. Crosby suddenly died. Pondering the suddenness of death, she asked herself, “I wonder what my first impression of heaven will be.” A moment later she answered her own question with sudden insight: “Why, my eyes will be opened and I will see my Savior face to face.” A few days later, she wrote one of her most famous hymns:
Some day the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But oh, the joy when I shall wake
Within the palace of the King!
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story—Saved by grace;
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story—Saved by grace.
There is no greater cure for discouragement, fatigue, or self-pity than to think of being in the presence of the Lord one day and of living forever with Him.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18—“For this cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Two men were dying across town from one another. One was a very wealthy man who had amassed and enjoyed a fortune. His Victorian house was lavishly furnished with antiques and expensive paintings. A stylish car sat outside the door, and a boat was on the nearby lake.
The second man had never flourished financially, but he had loved the Lord and worked faithfully in the village church. The first, as he died, moaned, “I’m leaving home. . . . I’m leaving home.” The second died with a glow on his face, saying, “I’m going home. I’m going home”
Abraham’s faith expressed itself in OBEDIENCE and PATIENCE. He left everything to follow a God he had never seen. He waited patiently to enter a city he had never seen. George Guthrie writes, “How would you and I live today if we believed absolutely that God existed and loved us completely and had a destination for us that made all the world pale by just one square foot of its turf. How would we live if we believed that God cared about our every action and every concern and wished to reward us generously for our faith? How would you and I live in the face of opposition if we believed in God, really believed as if our whole lives depended on him and his? You say, “But I do; I do believe absolutely. I believe with all I am and all I have.”
Then how would you live differently if you did not believe? Would there be much difference? This is a critical question. If all I am and have and do differs little from my unbelieving neighbor, then I have embraced his world and his values and fool myself by saying I am living for another world. . . .”
A. W. Pink—“The more our hearts are attracted to heaven, the less will the poor things of this world appeal to us.”