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Aliens In Our Own Land


In Genesis 23 we see Abraham and Sarah living in Canaan.  Decades earlier God promised Abraham the land of Canaan if he'd leave home and relocate there.  Abraham trusted God, so he obeyed Him and left for Canaan.  Once arriving, he discovered a severe famine, so he left for Egypt.  It appears that Abraham could trust God for the trip to Canaan but couldn't trust Him to keep him alive throughout the course of the famine, even though God promised the land to him. 


After getting entangled in Egyptian culture, Abraham left Egypt, loaded down with all the baggage associated with a worldly culture.  For the rest of his life he moved from place to place until he eventually ended up back in Canaan as an old man, where God wanted him all along.  Soon after relocating in Canaan, Sarah died.


The Hittite community possessed Canaan in those days.  In Genesis 23:3 Abraham asked the Hittites if he could buy some land for a family grave site.  This is how he began his request, "I am an alien and a stranger among you…"  Because Abraham was an alien and a stranger in the land God had promised him, he had no property of his own.  He had to purchase a piece of land to lay his wife to rest.    


Abraham's request to buy some property is both ironic and sad.  The ironic thing is that Abraham finally settled in the land God had promised him, although decades too late.  The sad thing is that he did not possess the land that God promised him.  He forfeited it years ago, making him an alien and a stranger in the land that was to be his. 


Two generations later, in Genesis 31:4, God told Abraham's grandson Jacob to return to his homeland in Canaan.  As a side note, it's clear to me that God wants His people in this land.  Jacob had left twenty years earlier because he feared his brother Esau would kill him.  When he arrived back home, Esau was waiting for him with an army of  400 men.  At that point, Jacob probably felt like Abraham, an alien and a stranger in his own land, a land that was rightfully his through inheritance.


The reason why Abraham and Jacob felt like aliens and strangers in their own land was because they left the land to live in other parts of the world.  Both men allowed rough times to influence their decision to leave home, resulting in the forfeiture of their land to others.  They left for perceived greener pastures.  In both cases the pastures were greener, but the green grass came with a high price.  Both men left God's will, losing what God had promised them.  This is the sad state of Israel's history to this date. 


Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His followers a promised land too.  For the time being, this land was to be a spiritual kingdom known as the Kingdom of God.  On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples entered into this promised kingdom when they received the Holy Spirit into their lives.  Subsequently, everyone who is born again enters the Kingdom of God.  


How we live and function in God's kingdom is up to us.  The ironic and sad thing is that many of us have followed in the footsteps of Abraham and Jacob.   We've trusted Jesus to get us into the kingdom, but don't trust Him as we should after entering the kingdom.  We've turned to perceived greener pastures in another kingdom.  Our feet are so firmly planted in the kingdom of men that we have failed to take possession and function as we should in the Kingdom of God, making us aliens and strangers in our own land.  This is the sad state of the church to this date.


The adoption of the Egyptian culture by Abraham affected him so much that even when he left Egypt, Egypt never left him.  His life was never the same after his Egyptian experience.  Even though he ended up in the promised land, the land wasn't his.  Many Christians today find themselves in the same predicament, living in the Kingdom of God, but not possessing and functioning in it as they should.  We can't seem to get Egypt out of our system.     


The saddest fact of the matter is that many of us are so entangled in the kingdom of men that we no longer  know that there is a Kingdom of God to be possessed.   Many Christians actually equate "going to church" with living and functioning in God's Kingdom.  That's a far cry from being Biblically correct. 


Christians live in a peculiar situation.  We live in two kingdoms.  We can't escape living in the kingdom of men.  That being said, we must understand that the Kingdom of God takes preeminence over the kingdom of men in our lives.  Personally speaking, my citizenship is Canadian, but more important than that is the fact that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. 


Despite how some people think, the United States, Canada, or any other country is not the Kingdom of God.  This may be hard for some patriotic citizens to accept, but as Christians our allegiance and patriotism is first to the Kingdom of God, not to the nation in which we live.    


May the voice of the prophets rise up today and call us all back to the Kingdom of God.  I pray we can repent of our worldliness and return to God's Kingdom, and live and function in it as we were meant. 


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