I’m just a traveler here, a sojourner. If you’re His, you know what I’m talking about. The city of God is where we’re from; we’re strangers wandering with purpose. We’re witnesses of God’s strength and power and committed to Christ’s service.
It’s like the Spirit-inspired writer of Hebrews says of Abraham in Chapter 11:
Verse 8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Abraham’s earthly land of promise was Israel; God promised the land to him in Genesis 17, in an everlasting covenant to him and his descendants. We become Abraham’s descendants by faith, by receiving His Son as Lord (Galatians 3:7) and receive a land of promise that is above–heaven! We who believe in the name of Jesus, we who receive and are intimately associated with Him, are adopted by our heavenly Father, born not of blood or the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Like Abraham, we believe God and follow Him when He says, “Go!” Like Abraham, we walk the natural land as a visitor, as one who inhabits it as a stranger. Abraham lived in tents and moved about, and we live in earthly tents–our natural bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Peter 1:14).
We don’t know our earthly destinations any more than Abraham did (11:8). We don’t know where God will send us during our sojourn here. But we know our purpose is to go in and possess the land of our sojournings (Genesis 28:4) that Adam lost to Satan when he was tempted and sinned. At the same time, like Abraham, we look for, are ready to receive, wait for and expect a city which has foundation stones that are immovable and eternal, the city of God, designed and built by Him. Jesus Christ our Lord has prepared a place for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2).
Verse 13-16 All these [Abraham’s offspring, per verses 11 and 12] died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
We do not yet see the city of God except through a glass darkly; we know only in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). But we believe and welcome it and confess that we are strangers and exiles here, waiting expectantly to know fully just as we have been fully known by God, having been adopted as His children by faith in Jesus Christ. Because we declare that we welcome the promise of the city of God and because we confess that we are strangers here in this world, we make it clear and declare that we eagerly desire another country. We formerly belonged to the natural earth, but now we are born from above and our country is above, with God in His domain, gathered around His throne. Though God gives us free will to return to our former country where we existed without the life of Christ in us, we have no desire to return to it. We stretch forth toward a better country, laying hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of us–heaven! Because we have no desire to return to our former existence and believe the truth that God has prepared a city for us, God is not ashamed of us. He is glad to be called our God. Hallelujah!
So until we are called to the better country, let us go in and possess the land of our sojournings, my brothers and sisters! God’s purpose is that we declare we are from another country, that our heavenly citizenship be written on our faces and in our hearts, that we glow with the life of Christ that is in us, that we be His witnesses here by being filled with the Holy Spirit, that gushing torrents of living water come from our bellies into the dry and thirsty land in which we sojourn, that many eyes blinded by Satan may be opened, that many join us in the city of God! The Lord’s word to us is this: Occupy!
And if you haven’t become intimately associated with Jesus Christ, if you have not believed in His name, it isn’t too late! Turn away from your sin and confess that you are a sinner, ask for His forgiveness and be saved, so you may live in expectation of the better country as you sojourn here! Then ask for the Holy Spirit, and He will be given to you so you, too, may occupy!
May this song bless you and encourage you:
By Susan Wynn ©2008
1. We are sojourners . . . born from above,
Led by Your Spirit . . . filled with Your love.
We seek open doors . . . that we’re to walk through,
And hearts that are ready . . . . to come to know You.
CHORUS: Our hearts on fire . . . Yours, our desire,
Your joy in our hearts . . . Your love to impart.
Clothed with Your power . . . prepared for this hour.
2. The new, deep within . . . the old, crucified,
We’re vessels made ready . . . for Your hand to guide.
We’re strangers who live here . . . but not of this world,
Proclaiming Your kingdom . . . and Your gracious Word.