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.
The first time I left home, I was eighteen years old, leaving Dallas to go ninety miles south to Baylor University. I remember that first night in my dorm so well: Even though I was surrounded by other people, I had never felt lonelier. I went down to the Fourth-Fifth Street bridge, which spanned Interstate 35. From the center of that bridge, I looked north toward Dallas and thought about the family and friends I had left behind. I turned and looked south toward Austin, where those pagans at the University of Texas were holding my girlfriend, Amy. I was lonely. Perhaps you have felt that kind of loneliness–the loneliness of moving to a new city, a new church, or a new job. Even though you are surrounded by people, you feel all alone.
I imagine Abraham experienced that same loneliness when God called him to leave his home. Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees, a metropolitan civilization in the Mesopotamian valley. The people of Ur–including Abraham–all worshiped idols. But when Abraham was sixty years old, God told him to go to a land that He would show him (Acts 7:2-3). So Abraham obeyed. He went as far as Haran and settled there for a while until God told him it was time to move again. Genesis 12:4 tells us Abraham was seventy-five years old when he packed up and left Haran. I don’t know about you, but I do not know many seventy-five-year-olds who would be crazy about uprooting and going to a place they have never seen before. Yet Abraham and his family left their home, their religious traditions, their friends, and everything familiar to them to go to a strange and distant land.
Why did Abraham go? It was not because he studied the housing market or the climate in this new land. No, he went by faith. Hebrews 11:8-9 says, “By faith . . . he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents.” Even when Abraham finally got to the promised land, he lived as an alien, not a citizen. He and his wife Sarah never built a house. They never even bought a piece of property except to be buried on. Why did they live such detached lives? Verse 10 says, “He was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham was looking for a more lasting city, a heavenly city. He did not always know where he was going here on earth, but he knew where his ultimate reward would be. That is how he was able to walk by faith.
Do you know what it means to walk by faith? It means acting in obedience to God even when you cannot see the outcome. God has not called you to see the future; He has called you to take the next step in obedience to Him.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Going Without Knowing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
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