"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 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."
– Hebrews 11:13-16
Lord, may I acknowledge that I am a stranger and exile on this earth. May I seek a better homeland - a heavenly one. May I not constantly desire to return to my old home - may I not even think about it. This text indicates that patriarchs like Noah and Abraham who literally left their home for an unknown one on this earth - could not think of their old home at all. If they did - they probably would have returned, and forsaken all the promises of God.
The fact is - I am an exile on this earth, regardless of my desire and what I think about. May I learn to love this eternal reality. May it affect deeply how I live and how I love. May it change how I spend my time and my effort. May it change what I do - and don't do.
Exile. There is an undertone of punishment to that word. An exile is a temporary residence in a foreign land that is less than favorable. It is something to be endured. It is something to be made the most of - but it never becomes home. A constant desire to return to ones homeland always besets the mind of the exile. Exile is a time for repentance, a time for reflection, a time for preparation, a time for dreaming - but it is only for a time.
O lord, take away every notion of missing out on fleeting pleasures in this life. You have greater pleasures in store. This time of exile is a time for self denial and preparation - no one will reach their heavenly homeland and wish that they had better sown their proverbial “wild oats”. No one will be disappointed in their homeland - and wish to be back in exile.
Home is always better than exile. Always.
God wants us to desire a better country. He wants that to drive the choices we make during this time of exile. This text indicates that god is not ashamed of us BECAUSE we desire His heavenly homeland! Because of our desire he has prepared for us a city. God spends his time preparing for us - may we spend our time in exile preparing for him, and his kingdom. We will not be disappointed. We will not be bored. We will not be sad. Words cannot express the joy and satisfaction of that glorious, eternal day.
Lord, may I work towards that reward. May I live my life in light of that reality - not in order to earn it. In moments of fleeting temptation and wanton lust - remind me of my true home. It is not this fleshly body of sin. It is not this culture of death and depravity. I belong to a heavenly home. I am only a stranger passing through this old world.