not ashamedGod is not ashamed to be called their God

Because of this desire, this driving passion for a heavenly country, God is not ashamed to be called their God. He identifies with them. He wants His people to want to be with Him. God wants us to want to be with Him. Do we live each day with an eye toward heaven? Longing for heaven. Waiting patiently, yet yearning earnestly for heaven?

In the Covenant with Abraham, God made specific promises that Abraham never saw fulfilled. Yet Abraham trusted God and walked with Him. Because of his faith, Abraham was counted righteous before God. This relationship of faith and dependence led to the point that Abraham was willing to give up even the promises he had seen fulfilled. Think about this. With the praise given to these faithful men and women by God when they did not see promises fulfilled we have to see also that they had some promises brought to fruition in their lifetime.

Abraham saw the promise of his son Isaac being born. This was a promise he watched unfold. And yet his faith was such that when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22) to Him on the mountain, Abraham asked no questions, shared no doubts, revealed no fear. His faith was such that he obeyed. He took Isaac, tied him to the altar, and raised the knife to offer him to God as God had asked.

As the angel stopped him and provided a ram in the bushes we see this faith – a faith in God that led to unquestioned obedience, even if it meant losing the fulfillment of a promise already given. How much more is God pleased to be associated with those who trust Him when they have not even seen the fulfillment of the promise? That is why, as they trusted Him, He was not ashamed to be known as their God. He refers to Himself throughout Scripture as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

He has prepared a place for them

Ultimately we see the result of this faith and God’s promise in the place that He has prepared for us. Just as Abraham and the others knew that the Promised Land was a shadow of heaven, so to we know that Jesus is preparing a place for us. A heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. Jesus stated it this way:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The disciples were troubled. They had just had Jesus wash their feet in the upper room. They knew Jesus was talking about being betrayed by one of them (Judas) and also being denied by Peter. He was talking about dying. They were troubled. His answer to this was straightforward. Don’t be troubled. Have faith. Trust God. Trust Me. I am going to prepare a place for you and I will come back for you to bring you to this place so that we can be together.

There is the joy of heaven. It is not the Promised Land, the glory of creation perfected, no sin or sorrow. No, it is a better place, a heavenly country, because when we are there we are there with Jesus. Face to face, never apart, walking, talking, abiding with Jesus.

The glory of heaven is not a glory of grandeur, majesty, and the perfection that will surround us. The true glory of heaven is the eternal presence of Christ. We will be with Him, the One who gave Himself for us and prepared this place for us so that we could indeed live with Him forever.

He is preparing a place for us. We belong to Him. We have an eternal home. He has showed us the Way, as in fact He is the Way. Knowing Him is having eternal life. We need not be troubled by this world. One day all this will be gone and we will be with Jesus.

Do you long for heaven? Do you long to be with the One who died to redeem you, to save you, to sanctify you, and to fellowship with you in this better country, this heavenly country, forever? Have faith in God. He will do what He has promised, and as the hymn states, “just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay!”

(tomorrow: God is Able)