The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 63 of 243
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A | 9-. By faith Sojourn in land of promise.
B | -9. Dwelling in tents.
C | 10. For he looked for a city. (Sarah and resurrection).
A | 13-. According to faith died, not having received the promises.
B | -13. Confessed they were strangers and pilgrims.
C | 14-16. For they seek a country and a city.
It is a common mistake to speak of the early fathers of Israel as nomads, wandering
sheiks of the desert, little better than Gypsies. Such they became by faith, not by birth.
Recent excavations have confirmed the opinion that Ur of the Chaldees was no mean
city. The trend of archaeological investigation goes to prove that the culture of Egypt
came from Chaldea, so that Abraham, the man of the city, voluntarily becomes the man
of the tent by reason of his faith.
"To sojourn" means to dwell as a stranger, as paroikia is translated in Acts 13: 17.
In Heb. 11: 13 the structure reveals that the thought corresponding to sojourning is
dying.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country (9).
According to faith these all died, not having received the promises (13). There is
something about faith, and the God in Whom that faith rests, that has this separating
effect. It made a martyr of Abel, and potentially one of Enoch; it separated Noah from
his fellows, and Abraham from his country. Faith has to do with things "hoped for", and
the reproach and reproof connected with faith is for things "not seen". We need to be
more fully alive to the fact that faith operates only in the sphere of resurrection. But, one
may interpose, are we not to exercise faith in matters of daily life here? Do we not
believe that the very daily bread that perishes is a gift of God? Most assuredly, but how
much richer to believe that these are not ours in the course of ordinary providence, or on
the same plane as the feeding of sparrows, but that all such blessings are wilderness
provisions coming to us by reason of the risen Christ, and to enable us to cover the
distance, shall we say, between our Red Sea and the Jordan.  Paul's testimony in
Galatians should be the normal experience:
"I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in
me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who
loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2: 20).
That it appears so very unusual is to our shame. It is impossible to read of Abraham in
the epistles without being made conscious of the resurrection. Rom. 4: 17 tells us that
when he believed God, Who made the promise to him that he should be the father of
many nations, he believed God Who quickeneth the dead. Heb. 11: 19 tells us that when
Abraham offered up Isaac on the mountain, he did so accounting that God was able to
raise him up, even from the dead. When the child of God can receive the daily supply,
the opportunity to earn a living, the gift of health and strength, as directly flowing from
the risen Lord, then he is experiencing something of the true nature of faith.
Those who died, not having received the promises, "saw them afar off".  This
principle runs throughout the Word. Heavy trials may be called "light afflictions that are
but for a moment", if it can be added, "while we look not at the things which are seen"