By Not Known
Most of us seek a place to call ‘home’. However humble it is, our place has a
special significance as the place of rest and being with loved ones.
The Old Testament church found their sense of place and home in the land of
Israel. Israel is not especially large and other countries are geographically better.
But Israel was the land where the Hebrews could raise children, reap crops and
watch their herds increase
It was also the land of God’s promise. As such, it has high spiritual significance.
God promised Abraham a people, a place to put them and that they would be
blessed and be a blessing to others (Gen 12:1-3). This promise fits squarely into
the kingdom pattern of ‘God’s people in God’s place and under God’s rule’. This
is the kingdom that was present in Eden, lost in the fall and then promised and
foreshadowed in the Old Testament
The book of Joshua is a testimony to God’s powerful faithfulness. It tells of how
God enabled his people to conquer and occupy the promised land. But it was a
promise with a price. Joshua and the people were to occupy the land under God’s
rule and on his terms (Jos 1 :7-8). The terrible story of Achan’s death was an
object lesson in the cost of self-rule (Jos 7).
These themes continue in the New Testament as we read of the better covenant
that is centred on Jesus (Heb 7:22). God’s new people are those who follow
Abraham in trusting God (Rom 4:11-12). God’s place is ultimately the new and
heavenly Jerusalem which is a better place by far (Heb 12:22-24). The perfection
and eternal nature of this new place for God’s people is superior in every respect
to the earthly Israel. Christian people are to fix their heart, hope and joy on this
new place that God promises.
Once again it is a place with a price. We are told not to ‘refuse’ God in the way
that Old Testament Israel often did (Heb 12:25). Like Joshua’s generation, God’s
new people are to occupy God’s place under God’s rule.
Our sense of the certainty of this better place is to govern our life in the present.
from thankfulness we are to worship God acceptably by treating him with
reverence and awe (Heb 12:28).
So, let us rejoice in the place that God promises and provides in Jesus. Let it be
our consolation in grief and strife. And let us live with a sense of anticipation for
the rest we will find there.