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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (October 28th)

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More on Abraham's Patient, Heavenly Pilgrimage, by Faith

And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:15-16)

Abraham (and his family) lived as "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). He lived as an obedient sojourner here on earth, trusting God to lead him about as one who was in the world, but not of the world. He also lived as a patient, heavenly pilgrim, trusting God to lead him to the eternal homeland that awaits all who have saving faith in the Lord. We have a similar calling from the Lord. "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).

Abraham understood that spiritual sojourners and heaven-bound pilgrims must stay away from earth-bound cravings that undermine one's godly quest. "And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return." Abraham and his seed had many tests and trials in their pilgrimage with the Lord. If they had set their attention on the country they forsook, they would have been tempted to return there. The enemy of our souls wants to wage war against us by ensnaring us again in the world that we have forsaken: "in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). Everyone is vulnerable to such attack. Even one of Paul's early associates in ministry fell prey to this enticement. "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10). Thus, the Lord warns us to stay away from any indulgent relationship with the world. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).

Instead, we are to desire the priorities of Abraham and his family. "But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country." Even though the land of promise was in their inheritance some day, they hungered for the realities of heaven above. Such heaven-focused faith is pleasing to our heavenly Father. "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." In this heavenly city ("the city of the living God-Hebrews 12:22), we will dwell forever with our glorious Lord!

Lord God, the only true and living God, I regret those times that the world has drawn my attention away from my heavenly homeland. I cry out to You—please anchor my heart in heaven above, that I might thereby please You in my pilgrimage here on earth below, Amen.

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