Sojourners Seeking a Homeland
by: Steven Bouma-Prediger
We have in this chapter the narration of a great cloud of witnesses (12:1)—Abel and Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Joseph, Moses and Rahab, Gideon and David, the known Hebrew prophets, and the nameless faithful over the centuries. These all were strangers and foreigners on the earth, seeking a homeland. They were seeking not the land they had left but a better place, a taste of heaven, a place to call home. They were seeking a city whose architect and builder is God (v. 10 NRSV).
What is this city like? We get glimpses of it throughout the Bible, perhaps never more eye-popping than in Revelation. A city of beauty and delight. A city of rivers and trees. A city where all kinds of people are at home. A city of shalom.
The point here, though, is that these witnesses never reached that city. They died without having received what they were promised. They remained sojourners seeking a homeland. Hence the commendation for their faith, their trust in the promise-making and promise-keeping God.
We have the advantage of looking to Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (12:2 NRSV). But we, too, still live by faith, not (yet) by sight. We, too, are sojourners seeking the city of God. We, too, long for that home of shalom.