A Better Country, A Heavenly One

September 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Eschatology | 2 Comments

While one a sabbath weekend in Estes Park, I reread some of the passages in the last chapters of Hebrews that I’d marked for further reflection the week before.  It occurred to me that we’ve lost our perspective on eternity.  After reading these passages, I was trying to think of songs about heaven, and I couldn’t come up with any newer songs, only old hymns.  Now I love some of those old hymns, but the fact that I could come up with no new songs indicates that we don’t think or preach about heaven much anymore.  Yet the biblical perspective is to let thoughts of heaven control many of our thoughts and actions.  Indeed it should be a big reason we do works of faith.

Here are some thoughts from those chapters.  Notice how the eternal perspective of heaven permeates much of this section on faith.  “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:34-36 ESV)

In the “faith chapter,” we are told that Abraham lived for years out of a tent without a permanent home, because “he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (11:10)  Later, the chapter says that these great men and women of faith were aliens and strangers in the world, because “they were seeking a homeland,” and “they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one,” and “God has prepared for them a city.” (11:14-16)  Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (11:27)  Those who were tortured refused release, “so that they might rise again to a better life.” (11:35)

The conclusion of the great faith chapter is found in the early verses of chapter 12.  We should “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (12:1-2)  Later that same chapter reminds us that all things made will be shaken and removed, so only those things which cannot be shaken remain.  The conclusion and application for us: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (12:28-29)

Let’s make more of an effort to focus on the eternal reward in heaven.   Maybe then we can be just a little more like the great men and women of faith we are reminded of in these chapters.  “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (13:14)

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  1. One of the things I miss from the time we served in various churches is singing. My husband,due to his visual impairment, plays piano by ear, and has a beautiful baritone/2nd tenor voice..can sing some 1st tenor using his head voice. My range is alto and 1st tenor, and a little 2nd tenor when I have to. We still harmonize in the kitchen here at home. I love the old hymns. I call my favorite songs my “kitchen sink” songs. Here is one of them:

  2. Theresa, Thanks for reading and commenting. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, but I never received a notice of a new comment. Beautiful song! “In your love I find relief, a haven from my unbelief.” That’s powerful.
    GG


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