Looking For A Better City

He proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent.
–Genesis 12:8

After fifteen years of living in Haran, Abraham finally decided to obey God completely and move to the promised land. What changed in Abraham’s life? Genesis 12:8 gives us a clue: “Then [Abraham] proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent.” Abraham was the wealthiest man of his day, yet for those hundred years he resided in Canaan, he lived in a tent. Why did he do that? Hebrews 11:9-10 tells us, “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents . . . ; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Even though Abraham lived in this world, he was not of this world. He was looking for a better city with a better reward.

F. B. Meyer in his study of Abraham wrote, “All through the history of mankind there has been a little band of men, in a sacred and unbroken succession, who have confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers upon earth. . . . [They] are to be found in the marketplaces and homes of men, distinguished only by their lack of concern for fashion, their restrained and moderate appetite, their loose hold on money, their independence of the maxims and opinions and applause of the world around, and the faraway look that now and again gleams in their eyes. These are the certain evidence of affections centered, not on the transitory things of time and earth, but on those eternal realities that, lying beneath the veil of the visible, are only revealed to faith.

“These are the pilgrims. For them the annoyances and trials of life are not so crushing or so difficult to bear, because such things as these cannot touch their true treasure or affect their real interest.”

If you had gone back to Ur and asked the people there, “Tell me about Terah’s sons,” they would have said, “Oh, you mean the famous one? That would be Nahor.” And if you were to ask about Abraham, they would say, “He was just a drifter. He went off to that foreign country, and we never heard from him again.” Yet today, most of us have never heard of Nahor, but we all know about Abraham. His life had substance because his life was spent building God’s kingdom instead of his own.

Whose kingdom are you investing in right now? If you are investing in your business, in your portfolio, even in your family, those things, as one person said, will dissipate more quickly than dandelion seeds in the wind. The only kind of life that is going to have substance is a life that is built around the other world, instead of this one.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “One Pilgrim’s Progress” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

F. B. Meyer, “The Life of Abraham,” ed. Lance Wubbels (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald, 1996), 31-32.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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