Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many years have you lived?" So Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning."
Genesis 47:7-9 (NASB)
No hymns this week, I forgot to bring my hymnal to school.
When asked about his age, Jacob described his life as a sojourning. This idea comes up fairly frequently in scripture, that our time on Earth is just a period of passing through, that this is not really our home. There is a sense in which it is--the new Heavens and new Earth where we dwell with God is a restoration of that which already exists, which means we will live forever on this very Earth after it has been renewed--but we cannot allow ourselves to see only this passing age of death and sin and turmoil as where we ultimately belong. This world cannot hold our affections, certainly not our allegiance, as it is not our true home, and we will not be here for long.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
Psalm 39:5-6 (NASB)
But we have been granted something greater than Earthly experience and wealth. Christ has given us a new home, a kingdom that Hebrews states Jacob and his fathers longed after. A kingdom that Christ proclaims our access to and affiliation with in Matthew 16, speaking to Peter regarding the church that would be built with him.
How would we interact with this world, with its affections and concerns and obsessions, with its nations and its peoples, if we truly understood ourselves to be sojourners in a world that is passing away? If we truly understood what it is that Christ has done by giving us a new home, a new identity, and a new status? I think we do a great disservice to ourselves and our God and our world when we try to divorce the doctrines of the Kingdom and the church from each other. After all, how can we ever bring the glories of our home to the land in which we sojourn, if we do not consider what the glories of our home actually are?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation