13 All those people were still living by faith when they died. They didn’t receive the things God had promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a long way off. They openly said that they were outsiders and strangers on earth. 14 People who say things like that show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 What if they had been thinking of the country they had left? Then they could have returned to it. 16 Instead, they longed for a better country. They wanted one in heaven. So God is pleased when they call him their God. In fact, he has prepared a city for them. 17 Abraham had faith. So he offered Isaac as a sacrifice. That happened when God put him to the test. Abraham had received the promises. But he was about to offer his one and only son. 18 God had said to him, “Your family line will continue through Isaac.” (Genesis 21:12) Even so, Abraham was going to offer him up. 19 Abraham believed that God could raise the dead. In a way, he did receive Isaac back from death. 20 Isaac had faith. So he blessed Jacob and Esau. He told them what was ahead for them. 21 Jacob had faith. So he blessed each of Joseph’s sons. He blessed them when he was dying. Because of his faith he worshiped God as he leaned on the top of his wooden staff. 22 Joseph had faith. So he spoke to the people of Israel about their leaving Egypt. He gave directions about his bones. He did that toward the end of his life.
Abraham believed and obeyed God when he did not know when God would fulfill His promises (Heb. 11:13–16). None of the patriarchs saw the complete fulfillment of God’s promises, but they saw from “afar off” what God was doing. In life “the important thing is not what we live in, but what we look for” Dr. George Morrison, a great Scottish preacher, once said
I love that these men and women of faith lived in tents, but they knew a heavenly city awaited them. God always fulfills His promises to His believing people, either immediately or ultimately.
I find myself comforted by this passage, particularly when my timing is being challenged and I am left – in faith – for a week, a month, a year or more. I find myself needing to gaze at heaven – in certain hope of my future – irrespective of the current situation whether trial or triumph!
Father – help me to keep my eyes on You and heaven that I may truly experience Your goodness in all things – even the trials!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta