Saturday, June 17, 2006

Home is where the heart is.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith--for he was like a foreigner, living in a tent. And so did Isaac and Jacob, to whom God gave the same promise. Abraham did this because he was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

Abraham looked out and saw with eyes of vision across four millennia and even further, to a future hope. Sadly in our day the people of faith struggle to see across four days, their eyes being fixed on the present troubles and cares and worries of everyday life.

Abraham looked and saw a future where there would be a city with eternal foundations, the same visionary and revelatory vision that came to John on the Isle of Patmos.

Maxi Jazz of Faithless fame outs it well when he says

You don't need eyes to see,
You need vision

You can see the full lyrics at purelyrics

and listen to the tune (plus a little rant by me) at Reverence Video

Abraham longed for, and saw, an earth running on the track of God’s Kingdom and true order, a place where people would dwell in peace together, a Kingdom of harmony, blessing, beauty and freedom, a Kingdom of love.

This hope caused him to be, and allowed him to be, content with life as a wanderer, a nomadic people, in short, a tent dweller. I think Paul recognised this as well when he said “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down--when we die and leave these bodies--we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands”.

Can you see the same mindset in Paul as in Abraham, and almost the same words, for faith in the experience of Abraham and Paul was that which seized upon a revealed event, and subsequently lives in anticipation of it.

Is it not clear then why Jesus prays ‘your Kingdom come’, in other words, ‘bring the rule of this peaceful and divine Kingdom into effect now’, and that is what has happened?

Christian Lies points out well the horror of 2000 years of Christianity, the abuses and the oppression, even in our day the name of Christ is used for political gain, and all these people had and have one thing in mind…setting up an earthly kingdom for their own power and prestige. They never looked, as Abraham, Paul and others did, for a heavenly city, that is why all their kingdoms and structures have been tainted with the blood of many.

In Daniel 7:18 we read ‘But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever’.

Even here in the midst of the great Babylonian empire Daniel looked forward with visionary and prophetic vision to a future age, what for Daniel was future, was for the Hebrew believers, a process already taking place. For them the shaking of the earthly order had already begun, Jesus death, resurrection and ascension signalled the end of the old order, and its fulfilment with a new heaven on earth kingdom.

So we as God’s people now live in that order and patiently we await its complete and full arrival, that final revealing of the sons of God that all creation longs for. We are a pilgrim people with no earthly home, tent dwellers, knowing that one day we will cast off this earthly tent.

We know that those primitive Christians, those still close to the apostolic teaching, regarded themselves as pilgrim people, for we read again in Hebrews

If they had meant the country they came from, they would have found a way to go back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a heavenly city for them.

These people had no desire to return, they had no regard that the land they dwelt in or the land they had left were home. For they knew that if they regarded it as home, then the temptation would always be there to return to that previous land. They were indeed a blessed people, not materially, but spiritually blessed in the highest places.

Trusting in God always brings blessing and reward, yet those blessings, those rewards do not inhabit this transient world order, for they reside in an enduring order which has its entrance in the life of God.

Peter addressed the faithful people as sojourners, and Paul writes to the Philippians as having their citizenship in heaven, exiles and aliens in a foreign land.

Yet this ideal, this living with vision and hope in a future perfect state proves, I think, too high an ideal for so many throughout the centuries and into our own day. The cares and worries of this present age always encroach, and people just cannot live this way. With that said there is always a remnant of men and women of God who put their trust wholly in God and the life of His Kingdom, those who bless when they are cursed, those who give to one another, hospitable people, those who rejoice when others rejoice and weep when other weep. They repay evil with good, living at peace with others (as much as is possible) and never seek to avenge themselves. For these people who tread this path of faith, God has prepared a city, a commonwealth.

We see Abraham moving constantly from place to place, his residence as temporary as the pegs he drove into the ground. Constantly he moved from place to place, his residence temporary, but his faith enduring and everlasting.

Should we then move from place to place, of course not (unless called to), at least not physically, our western world does not allow for this kind of movement. There are other kinds of movement though other than physical. So many people never move past the initial things of the faith, nurture group and Alpha become the mainstay. Preachers come and reinforce this by only ever preaching a message of salvation with an appeal.

Abraham looked not at the process of salvation, but at its conclusion. The results of not seeking a city far off is an inner stunted growth, leading to spiritual immaturity, we should have so many teachers, but countless numbers I meet, even, and especially those who have been ‘christians’ for years and years, are like babies in their thinking and understanding of the things of God.

John Owen in his commentary on Hebrews speaks of Abraham this way ‘He did not understand anything of the circumstances of it, nor what in the land he was called unto, nor where it was; The sum is, that he wholly committed himself unto the power, faithfulness, goodness and conduct of God, without the least encouragement from a prospect of the place where he was going.’

God calls Abraham to give up some very important things: he is to relinquish family, country and ancestral customs. In essence Abraham is called to give up home and all that goes with it. Calvin comments that it is an extremely severe trial ‘to give up what we have in hand in order to seek what is afar off and unknown to us’.

Martin Luther remarked ‘Abraham followed the naked voice of God.’ JC Ryle says ‘too many of us in the church today lack the clear vision of looking beyond the mists of the present to the gleaming battlements and spires of the city’.

Gods call to us comes without any attachments, Jesus said ‘follow me’, nothing more nothing less. God’s call is never dressed up, and we, like Abraham, must follow ‘the naked voice of God’.

11 comments:

christian lies said...

Dave the Video is great but could you write in English and stop quoting from that old book which is FULL of contradictions.

SEE
http://www.evilbible.com/
Biblical%20Contradictions.htm

QUOTE:
Maxi Jazz of Faithless fame outs it well when he says
You don't need eyes to see,
You need vision

.... and a Nikon D70

Dave said...

Not sure where I am not talking in English, its the only language I know??
Cannot stop qouting from an 'old book', it is old date wise, but then again all ancient writings are, even the Mormons have a fairly old sacred writing nowadays. I read the first couple of contradictions which I have posted here, and cannot agree, these are not contradictory at all, maybe somebody else disagrees and also sees these as contradictory

1. God is satisfied with his works
Gen 1:31
God is dissatisfied with his works.
Gen 6:6
2. God dwells in chosen temples
2 Chron 7:12,16
God dwells not in temples
Acts 7:48

good to hear your comments, and can I recommend that other christians go read the contradictions, there are at least 150 of them.

Anonymous said...

contradictions in the bible are only apparent not actual. Therefore there are no contradictions in the Bible


Peter

christian lies said...

Eh?

Saint Peter please speak English. Like Dave.

1. God is satisfied with his works
Gen 1:31
God is dissatisfied with his works.
Gen 6:6

christian lies said...

1. God is satisfied with his works
Gen 1:31
God is dissatisfied with his works.
Gen 6:6

CL: God is satisfied with his bible what He wrote.
Word of CL 1.31

God is dissatisfied with his bible what he wrote.
Word of CL 6:6

Dave said...

Now I'm confused...translation to English please CL

christian lies said...

This is a prime example [I have posted it on my Blog] of christians believing white is black - black is white.

2. God dwells in chosen temples
2 Chron 7:12,16
God dwells not in temples
Acts 7:48

xhristians believe BOTH statments to be TRUE.

I believe both statements are contradictions and that the above statements show christians to be either deluded, liars, willfully ignorant or indeed ALL three.

I feel sorry such a well meaning person such as yourself Dave is so deluded you cannot see the truth.

White is NOT black.

Nor will it ever be, no matter what book says it is.

Dave said...

Cl, thanks, but do not feel sorry for me, I really do not need pity. Also I am not a Christian, or not by the terms you credit to Christians.

Is it not possible then that two statements can be true, do you and so many others live in a one dimensional world, so black and white.

I read in a recent article that the Nikon D70s takes great pictures, yet I also read that Hank Gans takes great pictures. So who takes the pictures, the man or the camera?

Using your black and white logic, and as these statements are contradictory, both statements must be false, they could never both be true.

This then means that photography is an evil and wicked thing and all photographers are the same!

Black and white people always think in negative terms, fail to see beauty and always judge guilty.

I may post why God dwells in temples but does not dwell in temples, but then again why bother, you think my delusion complete and will not listen to reason, but hey, I may do it in my ever decreasing hope that there may just be some multi coloured people out there.

Shieldsy said...

CL, I'm about to waste my time putting together a response to one of your 'arguments'!

You're correct - the Bible is 'full of contradictions' (though only being able to find 150 contradictions in a book written over 1,500 years, by dozens of different authors, in several different languages, in a variety of literary styles is pretty impressive if you ask me).

Firstly you need to undersatnd what the Bible ISN'T. The Bible was not drawn up by a committee of trained barristers who have tried to produce water-tight, unambigous, legally-binding constitution.

The reason for the 'contradictions' is because it is a book written by real people about real events & real circumstances and real responses. When you are dealing with real life and not just abstract thoughts or computer logic you end up with contradictions, ambiguities and 'shades of grey' (as Dave so nicely explains it). In real life you get 'communists' who like to own their own property, you get teachers who hate working with children, courageous leaders who are afraid of spiders, lovers who hurt each other, and all sorts of other things that just don't add-up when viewed through a myopic & prejudiced worldview. You're own life will be just as 'full of contradictions'. So are you deluded, a liar or willfully ignorant of your own condition?

Incidentally, I have just read the 2 verses of scripture that you point to as being 'contradictory'. It's not a good start for your case I'm afraid. Have you bothered to read them? I have and they contain no contradiction what-so-ever! Hope the other 149 stand up to better scrutiny, though I shan't bother working my way through them!

christian lies said...

Whatever - christians (and I believe Dave says he is not one) have 2006 years of torture, murder, genocide under their belt.

I expect thats why Dave is not a christian.

Dave said...

I am not Christian simply on those terms you say above, because all that stuff about murder and torture are not seen in the works of Jesus, I am willing to die for Jesus but not to kill for him.
Nice post shieldsy,

 

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