Genesis 23:4: “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

July 7th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Abraham clearly did not consider himself a permanent resident on this earth. In the New Testament, Peter reminds us that we also are to be “sojourners and pilgrims” in this world. Since that is true, then how are we to conduct ourselves? A sojourner is a person who is just staying in a place temporarily, and a pilgrim is someone who is a traveler, often on a spiritual journey. Peter is saying to us as believers that we are just here temporarily and that this stop is just a pause in our spiritual journey with God. A sojourner or pilgrim would not put down roots in an area where he or she had no intention of staying. So like Father Abraham, we need to be careful about getting involved with pursuits after temporary things. They are only extra baggage that inhibits our journey as spiritual pilgrims. The more we tie ourselves down to the physical, the more we will try to satisfy our physical desires. Keep it simple.

There is a second related and important point made by Peter. He said, “as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Peter is not talking about avoiding what we call bad, sinful things. Sin is always to be avoided. But Peter is telling us to be careful to focus on the “best” things. Or as many have observed, “Don’t let the good interfere with the best.” There are many good things that most of us can do, since we all possess more than one single talent. There are many opportunities in life to be productive in different ways. But what we really want to stay centered on are the things that give us favor with the King. Abraham’s neighbors recognized that he was living a successful life, and paid him perhaps the highest compliment when they said, “Hear us, my lord: you are a mighty prince among us.” (Gen. 23:6). Or as another translator wrote it, “you are as a prince of God among us.” Now that is a beautiful definition of a successful life lived out before a disbelieving world: “we see the favor of God on your life.”

“LORD, keep us focused as sojourners and pilgrims. Keep us focused on You. May our life reflect, ‘the favor of the King.'”