Sisters in Christ, we are all sojourners if we are found in Him.
This world is not our home--we are just passing through. How easy it is to settle in and try to make our rest here in this life. We can be lulled into thinking that once we have the education, the job, the spouse, the house, the kids, the car...all will be right in our world. But if one is gaining the whole world, where will be her soul?
Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
This week began a bit unsettling to me as I received some hurtful comments in my real life. I do not want to invoke sympathy, and in no way do I consider this suffering. I am merely explaining the motivation for my post. The comments were ultimately about my faith and Christ, and though they hurt, in the end--by God's grace, I can receive them joyfully. I am reminded that this world is not my home and anytime I am awakened more to eternal things, it is a blessing!
God's people are sojourners and have been as far back as the traveling company of Israel in the wilderness. They were six-hundred thousand men strong and that census did not include the women and children. How vast! There was nothing inconspicuous about one million people in the desert. They stood out.
God in his wisdom, ordered them by clan. When settled, they made a squared encampment that was beautiful to behold. (Numbers 24:5) When traveling, the Israelites rolled out prescriptively and with God-given responsibilities. They were not a people in chaos but of purpose, even while they were wandering.
How peculiar this all must have appeared to on-lookers. The Israelites were known to the surrounding peoples, and were often prohibited passage because they were despised for their distinctions and their God.
Such distinctions were the laws they followed. Or the strange pillar of cloud by day and smoke by night which was always with them. What might have been most distinctive was what was at the center of the camp: the Tabernacle. From an outside point of view it was concealed in animal hides--modestly covered so as not to draw attention to the wonders that were inside. But it could still surely be seen.
And on the inside--though buried under hides and skins--there were riches: gold, ornately hammered instruments, and finely woven tapestries. These were not the empty tools of ceremony, but instruments through which God inhabited and dwelt with His people.
God's people are still a peculiar people. And if we are not, don't we need to be?
We, like the Israelites, are sojourners--just travelers through this life.
Our faith may be seen as vile to some. Enemies of the cross will hate what we stand for. To the on-looker our faith might just seem obscure and dull. But they do not know that the power and might of God himself dwells in the midst of His people. And the Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of believers. John 14:16-17 Jesus says:
And I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever. Even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him or knows him. You know him for he dwells with you and will be in you.
They cannot understand that the blood that has been shed is not an awful, staining mess. It was spilled out to wash our sins white as snow. Christ's blood is the only cleansing agent that can make us able to approach this mighty and holy God. The blood is precious to us. And for this too we look to be a peculiar people.
So how are we to travel through this life? By keeping an eye toward Heaven and living with faith in His Son through obedience to His word. Need encouragement? be strengthened by Hebrews 11...the whole chapter! Here are some highlights:
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations whose designer and builder is God. vs. 10
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 for them a city. vs. 16
We are a peculiar people, and if following God's word makes us that way, then we should praise Him and pray that we will remain and grow increasingly salty with His truth and love in this diluted world.
In Christ's love, erika