These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country). If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it. But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.
If you are anything like me, reading these words gave you a sense of sadness followed by relief. Sadness because verse the first lines describe how so many died knowing their promises, but only from a distance; they never experienced them. Relief because of their faith, they knew those promises were going to be fulfilled either on earth or in Heaven. I just wish I always had that kind of faith.
Please know I am the first in this list of “we” that follows…
We have this sense of entitlement. We believe we are owed so many things…a happy marriage, well-behaved and healthy children, a stable and unthreatened life. We, not only believe we have the right to these things, we try to claim them no matter the cost.
The truth is we have been promised love, peace, and joy as children of God, so no matter whether or not we get it today, tomorrow, or not until we get to Heaven, we need to live knowing we will one day receive what has been promised to us and trusting the One who has made the promise to us because He is faithful.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.