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Waiting in Faith for the Heavenly City


Caleb waited a long time to enter the Promised Land of Canaan (see Joshua 14). He, along with Joshua, were the only two spies who had recommended moving forward in faith when the Israelites first arrived at the border. But at that time, the people chose to disobey. As a consequence, God condemned them to years of wandering in the wilderness. As he waited and grew older, Caleb had to watch his entire generation, except for himself and Joshua, die. 

After 40 years, the time finally came to enter the land. Caleb proclaimed: “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day” (Joshua 14:11–12). 

His faith-filled attitude was consistent with that of the saints in Hebrews 11, who “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (v. 16). For Abraham, this meant he believed God’s promises and obeyed His instructions (vv. 8–10). He left his home and made another in a strange land, living in tents as a semi-nomad rather than building houses. Ironically, he lived as a foreigner in the land his descendants would later inherit. Why did he do all this? “He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” For Sarah, faith also meant believing God’s promises, specifically, His impossible promise that she would bear a son in her old age (vv. 11–12).

People like Abraham and Sarah persevered in waiting on the Lord for their entire lives (vv. 13–16). Though they saw the fulfillments of God’s promises only from a distance, they waited in faith, hope, and expectancy, sure of God’s faithful love and of a “heavenly country” far superior to any earthly option. 

Apply the Word

Thanksgiving Day is a good time to give God glory by looking back and looking forward. Look back at the exemplary faith of Abraham, Sarah, and others who have run the race before us, as well as God’s faithfulness to us personally. And look forward to all He has promised to those who stand firm and wait for Him (see Titus 1:2; Heb. 10:36). 

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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