March 24, the Fourteenth Day of Lent

March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.

-Hebrews 11.14-

The author continues his remarks regarding Abraham and Abraham’s descendants. For us to understand what the author of Hebrews is trying to say, we must keep in mind the previous verse. This verse references the part of v. 13 where Abraham and those after him agreed that they are “foreigners and nomads” where they are.

A foreigner is a person who lives outside one’s own country; or, to say it differently, a person who lives in the home country of another. A nomad is one who has adopted a wandering, sojourning way of life that is not tied to a geographical location. Both of these terms apply to Abraham and his descendants.

Here, the author is making a statement about Abraham. As a foreigner, he remembers the home he left behind; as a nomad, he looks for a new home. This is part of why Abraham and his descendants took God’s promise so seriously; within the promise of Genesis 12.1-3, the concept of home is implied. Even though Abraham did not get to experience the home that was promised, he looked forward to it in the faith that his descendants would.

Verses 14 and 15 naturally go together, and we will consider them together tomorrow. However, this verse taken individually speaks to the season of Lent that we are in. During this time, we intentionally recognize the sovereignty of God; we also recognize our frailty and sinfulness. As a response, we surrender our lives to God and seek to leave behind the things that separate us from him. We do these things now as we anticipate the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ at Easter.

As Christians, Easter is our “homeland.” The Cross and the Resurrection are key points in the story of grace, forgiveness, redemption, and eternity – the story that we claim as our own. However, we recognize that the story isn’t finished yet: just as we celebrate Easter, we renew our anticipation for Christ’s Return and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. In a sense, we, too, are foreigners and nomads; we live in anticipation of a world that is yet to come. During this season, we prepare for the arrival of that kingdom; our homeland.

As we journey through Lent together, may we live in preparation and anticipation of God’s kingdom.

“Dear Lord, there are times when I feel spiritually ‘homeless.’ In the world around me and in the life I lead, I recognize that your kingdom has not come fully. During this season, please show me areas in my life that I have not surrendered to you; it is my desire to give these up, but I need your help. Please help me be aware of the world in which I live; show me people and situations that need your touch, and help me respond accordingly. Bring your Kingdom in my life; bring your kingdom in the world. Amen.”

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