NT Connect: Hebrews 11:10; 1 Peter 1:1, 17
Weekly Reading: 2 Kings 19-25
And he burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. –2 Kings 25:9
Fire consumes its fuel and leaves a pile of ash in its wake. In the last chapter of 2 Kings, the city where God’s people had lived was razed, and the people were sent into exile. Their homes were lost, their possessions were taken, their families were splintered by the ravages of war and death, the temple of God was destroyed, and the walls that protected the city were demolished. After Nebuzaradan—the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of King Nebuchadnezzar—burned down all the houses of Jerusalem, the city where God’s people once flourished was now a heap of burnt smoking residue. Now, all God’s people were exiles.
A longing for a true home has been the story of God’s people from the time Adam and Eve sinned, were sent out of Eden, and cherubim were placed to guard the entrance. When God promised a home for his people after he rescued them from slavery in Egypt, the hearts of the people turned against God and even decided it would be better to go back into slavery in Egypt because they missed eating the fish! Too often, God’s people have substituted temporary pleasures of this world for a lasting joy of living with God. So, when Jerusalem was ransacked, God’s people were again distraught and left longing for home.
This is not merely an Old Testament theme. Christian, we too are all exiles. Our King was an exile. Jesus himself explained, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). Jesus left his home to rescue his people. This means, if Jesus’ true home is not this current world, and those who trust in him are his brothers and sisters and co-heirs with him, then this current world is also not our true home.
Peter understood this theme of exile, and addressed his letter to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). Look how Peter describes what the life of an exile looks like: “Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17–19).
When our hearts are tempted to want the things of this world more than our true home with God, remember that even gold and silver are perishable by fire, but the blood of Jesus, the ransom paid for us, is everlasting. This world is not our home. Christ has gone to prepare an eternal home for his people, and the Holy Spirit is preparing his people for that eternal home. Knowing this truth, let us join with Abraham and look forward to “the city that has foundations whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).