in the Promised Land
This devotional is a continuation of that which was introduced
in the previous devotional entitled: The Effect of Faith
on the Home
Look at the next part of that
sentence: "he made his home in the promised land."
There are a couple of plays-on-words here.
The Promised Land is more correctly
called the land of promise. In the original language, the
difference has to do with the fact that his settling in
the Promised Land implies that he had reached some promised
land and by reaching it was taking it. The fact that he
lived in tents is our first clue that this was not a taking
but a living in as an alien.
In fact, Abraham never owned
a parcel of land on which to live. The only land he owned
was the burial place he bought for Sarah. The play on words
is made more interesting when you add the "faith"
phrase up front and the "made his home" phrase
in the middle; it all comes together to give us a glimpse
of the way we are told to live today: as aliens in
a foreign land. In fact, the connection of verse 10 reminds
us of where our real home lies. The writer of Hebrews adds:
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God. He was especially
looking forward to making his home with God in heaven, thus
the idea of aliens in a foreign land. And if God could be
trusted with constructing our eternal homes, He surely could
be relied upon for direction in building our earthly ones.
faith, Abraham made his home… On the mission
field, we had an expression. "Unpack while you're here."
Its meaning was very simple. If God has led you to serve
somewhere, the only way you can truly live there, minister
there, and be effective there is to unpack. The leaving
of your things in trunks or suitcases worked against you
subconsciously by leading you to adopt and operate from
an outsiders' mindset. To unpack meant you jumped into the
culture and into your ministry there with both feet and
weren't afraid to get your hands dirty.
When the Bible says Abraham
"made his home" there,
it means he unpacked. He settled in, he made his abode,
he stored the travel gear, set up tents, and became as permanent
and settled as one could in tents. We are to do the same.
We are to build our homes where God has placed us by unpacking
in everything that that word means.
Too often we go into an apartment,
a condo, or a neighborhood and, though we unpack physically,
we never unpack emotionally and spiritually. We don't make
our homes there, we don't get to know our neighbors, we
don't reach out to anyone; we simply exist. That's not building
a home and that's not healthy for our families.
After a horrible thunderstorm
with high, damaging winds that knocked down everyone's fence,
one man said, "Wow! This is great. I've lived here
two years and have never met most of these people. We need
to have more storms. "Hi, my name is Tom…" and
he went off to meet and help more of his neighbors.
What if Abraham had thrown
up a tent or two, left the travel bags on the camels, and
told the family, "This is home?" He would have
been sending conflicting messages. He made his home
there. The home is the place where we unpack physically,
spiritually, and emotionally, for the good of our families.
If we don't, can we really call it home?
Next time we'll take a look
at the logistical issue with which Abraham dealt as he made
his home in the promised land.