Monday, October 11, 2010

OTC Day 22: Genesis 46-48

Have you ever felt the dull ache for something—somewhere—Someone—that the most vivid sunsets, the warmest hugs, the greatest movies and most delicious meals only hint at?

During the entire book of Genesis, Abraham and his descendants are nomadic and nearly homeless with only brief exceptions. Abraham is called by God to pack up and leave without knowing the destination. Isaac is relocated by a famine in the land. Jacob flees home out of fear of his brother’s wrath. And Joseph ends up in Egypt only to prepare the way for the rest of his family to follow him there.

Through it all, God continually promises them a home, a land for both them and their descendants. Yet the writer of Hebrews makes this somewhat shocking observation:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. – Hebrews 11:13

Living by faith will mean living like you’re homeless in this life (figuratively in most cases). But even if you own a house in the same town that you grew up in, there is a very real and very profound sense in which the Christian will never be home in this life. C.S. Lewis, in speaking of heaven, put it this way: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ( Mere Christianity, bk. 3, ch. 10)

Perhaps you’ve only heard the dull, “singing 24-7, pudgy babies with harps” version of heaven and you can’t imagine how that will possibly satisfy all these desires and aches for something more.

Space does not permit us to paint a good picture of what heaven will be like (neither does the human language for that matter) but suffice it to say this: if God created this universe with its vast and wonderful array of pleasures for our enjoyment for a few short years of human history, imagine what he can and will do for the coming eternity when the dwelling of God is with men.

1. Read Hebrews 11:8-16. Has there even been a time in your life when you felt like these men, a stranger in a foreign country? Living in tents? What does this passage tell us about heaven?

2. Have you ever heard the quote, “He’s so heavenly minded he’s of no earthly use”? What do you think the speaker meant to convey? What are some ways that a proper understanding of heaven might make a Christian a better person here on earth? Explain.

3. What are your first impressions of the quote by C.S. Lewis? Agree or disagree? Explain.

4. Are you excited about heaven? Nervous? Disinterested? Share what most excites you about heaven and what hesitations you have about it.

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