THE LIFE AND TESTIMONY OF
STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS
“By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise,
as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob,
the heirs with him of the same promise”
The Bible often reminds us that we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We read it, but do we really comprehend what it means? Do we live it in our daily lives? Do our children see us living like strangers and pilgrims, or would they think this was our final home? To get the true picture of what it means to be a pilgrim, we need to check the Scriptures again. As we look at them, we’ll begin to see God’s plan for us, His pilgrims.
1. PILGRIMS HAVE GOD WITH THEM ON THEIR JOURNEY
Did you know that you are not a sojourner on your own? God Himself sojourns with you. God says in Leviticus 25:23: “For you are strangers and sojourners WITH ME.” Isn’t that amazing? Don’t you want to burst out in thanks to God?
David confessed to God in Psalm 39:12: “I am a stranger WITH THEE, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.”
When Jacob spoke to the Pharaoh of Egypt he said: “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an 130 years.” He looked upon his life as a pilgrimage on the way to a better country.
Just as God lived in the midst of the children of Israel, dwelling in His Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, so He also lives with us today. Now it is even more amazing. He dwells in us by the power of His Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19; and Colossians 1:27). We do not walk alone; God walks with us.
When we feel like an outcast because we don’t fit in with the culture of this world, God is an outcast with us. When we suffer pain and persecution, God suffers with us. What wonderful comfort to know that God pilgrims with us through this time of exile.
And because He is with us, He gives us strength for each day of our pilgrimage. Deuteronomy 33: 25 says: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
The proof that God walks with us in this world is the manifestation of His presence with us and upon our lives. Moses was concerned about the great feat of leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land and cried out to God, “You have not let me know who you will send with me.” God replied: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
But Moses wasn’t satisfied and cried out: “If your presence does not go with us, do not take us up from here. For how will it be known then that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not by YOUR GOING WITH US, so that we will be distinguished (separated KJV),I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:13-16 NET).
As God’s pilgrims, we are to be distinguished from everyone else on the face of the earth! But how will the people of the world know that we are God’s pilgrims? Not by separating ourselves from them, but when they see the noticeable presence of God upon our lives. Our separation from the world is the manifestation of God’s presence with us.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (Phillips) says that wherever we are we should have about us the “unmistakable scent of Christ.”
2. PILGRIMS HAVE GOD’S WORD TO GUIDE THEM ON THEIR JOURNEY
As exiles of eternity God provides His Word to keep in our hearts and mouths. The psalmist cried out in Psalm 119:19: “I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.” He understood that he could not live his life as a foreigner on earth without God’s words and commandments to guide him. Nor can we. If we don’t continually hold on to God’s words we are easily dragged into the mindset of this world system. The people who belong to earth live by a different mindset than the God-fearing sojourner. They belong to a different kingdom with different values and worldview. Therefore, we need God’s Word daily to continue living by God’s principles.
The psalmist also confessed: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psalm 119:54). God’s words and songs should fill our homes. We must richly fill our children with God’s principles and promises as they learn to walk this pilgrim way. They will either grow up walking as a “pilgrim of God” or a “conformist to this world.” What a tragedy for this to happen from a Christian home.
More to come.
Blessings from NANCY CAMPBELL
“I thank you, dear Father, that You walk with me on my earthly pilgrimage. More than anything else I want Your presence with me. I want all those who see me walking through this earth to know that You are with me and that Your anointing is upon me. Amen.”
Because I belong to a heavenly country, I am a stranger, a sojourner, a foreigner, a pilgrim, an exile, and an alien on this earth.