Today’s selected reading is found in the first New Testament epistle of the apostle Peter. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through twenty-five of the first chapter. When come to these thirteen verses you find the first chapter of this first epistle written by the apostle Peter drawing to a close. What is interesting about the second half of this chapter is that it seems to build upon that which was written in the preceding twelve verses. As you begin reading the second and latter half of this chapter you will notice the apostle Peter using the word “wherefore”—a word which is a transitioning phrase and links that which came before it with that which came after. I am convinced that in order for us to properly understand what is found in the latter half of this first chapter it is necessary and imperative that we first take a look back at what was written in the first twelve verses. It is what we find in these first twelve verses that truly brings us face to face with the foundation upon which the second half of this chapter is built. What’s more, is that this word “wherefore” draws our attention, and almost beckons us to look back upon what was written in the preceding verses—words which we should pay close and careful attention to. Consider how the apostle Peter opens and begins the epistle by revealing who his audience was—namely, “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithyna.” We dare not move too quickly past the first verse of this chapter, for not only do we read of “strangers,” but we also read of strangers who were “scattered” throughout the various regions of the known world at that time. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the audience of this epistle, for the apostle Peter was writing unto those who were perhaps forced to flee from their homes, from their families, from their lives, and from everything they had and knew. When I read the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this epistle, and when I consider the fact that he wrote unto “strangers,” and those who were “scattered throughout,” I can’t help but be gripped by the fact that his audience were those who had to adapt to new surroundings and new environments. Those to whom the apostle Peter wrote this epistle to were strangers and foreigners in a land that was not their own. What’s more, is that not only were they strangers in a strange and foreign land, but they had also been scattered throughout the far reaches of the earth. In order to truly gain a picture of what this looks like, it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention to the New Testament book of Acts. In fact, if you begin reading with the first verse of the eighth chapter you will discover a great persecution which broke out against the early church:
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judah and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made Hancock of the church, entering into every house, and hailing men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).
If you read these verses carefully you will notice that not once, but twice within this passage the word “scattered” was used—once to describe the initial scattering of the saints and disciples of Jesus, and a second time to speak concerning those who had been scattered, and their preaching the word concerning God. In all reality, that which took place, and that which happened to the early church was a direct fulfillment of the words which Jesus Himself spoke just before He ascended to the right hand of the Father, If you turn and direct your attention to the twenty-eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the following words which were spoken by Jesus unto His disciples prior to His departure from the earth: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20). Within this passage we find Jesus emphatically proclaiming and declaring unto the disciples that they were called, ordained and appointed unto the nations of the earth—a declaration which meant that they would and could not remain in the city of Jerusalem. There would come the time when they would need to be sent forth from the city of Jerusalem, and would need to enter into the far reaches of the earth during their generation. In all reality, these words have a secondary truth that is directly connected to them, which is found in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the fourth verse of the first chapter you will find the following words:
“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore against the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for thou to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. About ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).
With these words Jesus takes the words He spoke unto the disciples atop the mountain even further and declares unto them that they would be His witnesses—first in Jerusalem, but then eventually in all Judaea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. In other words, the gospel and word concerning the kingdom of heaven was not to remain concealed within the city of Jerusalem, but would need to break froth and break out from within the city, and expand into the surrounding region, cities, towns, villages—and eventually, unto the uttermost part of the earth. When we come to the eighth chapter of the book of Acts we find this coming to fruition—albeit perhaps not in the manner which the disciples, nor the apostles of Jesus Christ anticipated or prepared for. When you come to the eighth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that that which thrust the saints of God and disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ into the uttermost parts of the earth wasn’t that which they expected. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the disciples and apostles heard that they were going to be witnesses unto and for Jesus Christ in the uttermost parts of the earth, they did not anticipate, nor did they allot for the fact that such would become manifest within their lives as a result of persecution. Twice in the first four verses of the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find that after the death of Stephen a great persecution broke out against the church, and Saul of Tarsus began to wreak havoc upon the church. So intense and so severe was the persecution which broke out against the church that it caused the saints and disciples of God to be scattered abroad throughout the surrounding cities, towns, villages, and regions of the earth. It’s actually quite interesting that instead of destroying this movement, and instead of destroying the early church—persecution merely gave it the necessary movement to flow freely within and throughout the earth. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider that the vehicle which the adversary sought to use to destroy the church was actually the vehicle which the Holy Spirit used to send the church forth into the surrounding regions, and ultimately the end of the earth. Far too many times we perceive that which the adversary thrusts and hurls against us as something negative, and as something which has the potential to destroy us, and yet we have absolutely no idea that the vehicle which the adversary attempted to use for our destruction, the Lord is using and will use for our growth. I am reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the eighth chapter of the epistle which was written and sent unto the saints which were at Rome.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinated, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all thigns? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or -persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us form the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-39).
You will notice in this passage three distinct realities which must be carefully considered when studying that which the adversary seeks to throw and hurl against us. The first reality is that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. The second reality is that if God shall be fore us, who can be against us? The third and final reality is that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Not only can no one be against us if God be fore us, not only can no one lay charge of God’s elect, nor condemn the saints of God, but in all things we are more than conquerors. It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand this concept, for although a great persecution broke out against the early church during the days of Saul, all things were working together for the good of those who loved God, and those who were the called according to His purpose. Although a great persecution broke out against the early church, that persecution was actually a vehicle and instrument which the Lord was using to bring about the spread of His church, as well as the spread of the gospel and word concerning the kingdom of heaven and of Christ. It would be very easy to read how a great persecution broke out against the early church and to think about it as a death blow against it, and yet what we find in the New Testament book of Acts is anything but that. The -secretion which broke out against the church—though it caused the saints and disciples of God to be scattered throughout the surrounding regions, and to the uttermost part of the earth, it actually brought about the expansion of the early church and its influence in the earth. I am sure that it was not easy for men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, young adults, children and the like to pack up all their belongings and to get themselves up from their home in order that they might find solace and safety in the midst of persecution. I am sure it wasn’t easy to leave Jerusalem—not necessary because it was desirous, but because it was necessary for their own safety. There is not a doubt in my mind that there were a lot of men and women, as well as young children and young.adults who might very well have been fearful for their lives. These saints and disciples were not only strangers in a land which was not their own, but they were also strangers which were scattered throughout the earth.
The more I consider this concept of being strangers which were scattered abroad, the more I can’t help but consider how this reality of being strangers in a foreign land was one that began as far back as Abram when he was called out of Ur of the Chaldeans. If you journey back to the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the word of the Lord coming to Abram calling and commissioning him to arise from where he was, and to go unto a land which the Lord would show him. Beginning with the first verse of the twelfth chapter we find the following words concerning Abram, Sarita his wife, and Lot his nephew:
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south” (Genesis 12:1-9).
Perhaps the author of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews provides us with the best commentary on Abram’s journey form Ur of the Chaldeans, and the life Abram lived from the moment he chose to obey and follow the voice of the Lord wherever it led and called him to go. Beginning with the eighth verse of the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the following words which were written concerning Abram’s journey out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and his journey within and through the land of promise:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he 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: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…these all died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11;8-10-13-16).
When you study the life of Abram thou will find that from the time the Lord appeared to him in Ur of the Chaldeans and called him forth from his country, from his family, and from his father’s house, he sojourned as a stranger and pilgrim in a strange land. This account of being a stranger and pilgrim in a foreign land—even a land that was promised and sworn on oath by the Lord Himself—began with Abram, and began with a word which was spoken while Abram was still in Ur of the Chaldeans. For nearly twenty-five years Abram journeyed as a stranger and foreigner in a land which he had not known, nor previously been associated with. Three generations lived their lives as strangers and pilgrims in the land of Canaan, for it wasn’t simply Abram who sojourned in the land, but also Isaac his son, and Jacob his grandson. What’s more, is that even before Jacob took his entire household—all seventy of them in all—down into the land of Egypt, there was a fourth generation which would sojourn in the land of Canaan. It’s interesting and worth noting that four generations sojourned as strangers and pilgrims in the land of Canaan, and did so as foreigners—all according to, and because of that which the Lord spoke unto Abram when He called him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans. What’s more, is that if you follow this line of thought even further, you will find that that fourth generation, and pretty much ten generations after that would live as strangers and foreigners in a land that was not their own. In fact, the Lord even spoke unto and declared unto Abram that his descendants would be strangers and foreigners in a land not their own before they would be restored unto the land which was sworn on oath to them by the living God. If you turn your attention to the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the following declaration spoken by the Lord unto Abram when he entered into covenant with him, and passed between the portions of the sacrifice. Beginning with the thirteenth verse of the fifteenth chapter you will find the following words spoken by the Lord unto Abraham while he was engulfed within a horror of great darkness which fell upon him:
“And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:12-21).
The Lord declared unto Abram—even before he gave unto his descendants the land which He swore on oath unto him that his descendants would be strangers in a land that was not theirs, and would serve those who otherwise shouldn’t and wouldn’t have authority over them. Before Isaac was even conceived within the womb of Sara, and before he even broke the womb, the Lord declared unto Abram that his descendants would be strangers in a land not their own—and not only would they be strangers in a land not their own, but they would also be slaves in that same land. Consider if you will the words which are recorded in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus concerning the children of Israel in the land of Egypt:
“And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they build for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour” (Exodus 1:7-14).
In the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the children of Israel living as strangers in a foreign land which was not their own, and it was in that land where they multiplied, where they grew, and where they increased in number and size. It’s worth noting that it was because of their growth and increase that Pharaoh conspired against them in order that he might place them under subjection, servitude and slavery under taskmasters who would rule over them. For more than four-hundred years the children of Israel lived as slaves in bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt—as if living as strangers and foreigners in a land not their own wasn’t bad enough. What we read and what we find in the first three chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus describe the first occurrence the children of Israel dwelt as strangers and foreigners in a land not their own. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t the first time the children of Israel would live as strangers and foreigners in a land not their own, for if you journey to the Old Testament books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles, you will find the children of Israel living once more as strangers and foreigners in a land not their own—albeit this time because of their disobedience and unfaithfulness before the Lord. In fact, if you read the Old Testament book of Second Kings you will notice that the captivity of the children of Israel took place in two different phrases, for first the northern kingdom was taken into captivity by the Assyrians, and second the southern kingdom was taken into captivity by Babylon. Consider if you will the account of the northern kingdom of Israel being taken into captivity by the Assyrians, which would subsequently be followed by the captivity of the southern kingdom of Judah:
“Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefor ethe king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel way into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gowan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:4-6).
“And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Baby Lon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah” (2 Kings 24:11-17).
What makes the slavery of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt, as well as the captivity of Israel and Judah so peculiar and interesting, is that while they were slaves in the land of Egypt, there was an inheritance that was being prepared for them by the Lord, and while they were captives in the land of Assyria and Babylon, there was an inheritance which was being preserved for them. In the midst of their slavery there was still an inheritance that was promised unto them within the earth—an inheritance which their descendants would eventually enter into, conquer and drive out the inhabitants of the land, and would take possession of the land. In the midst of their captivity and exile the inheritance was already theirs, only it was being preserved by the Lord. For seventy years the children of Israel would live as captives and exiles in a strange and foreign land before Cyrus’ decree would permit them to return unto the land which was promised unto them. How interesting it is to consider that whether they were strangers in the land of Egypt, or whether they were strangers in the land of Assyria, or even strangers in the land of Babylon, there was still a land, there was still a possession, and there was still an inheritance for them in the earth. Regardless of whether they were slaves or captives, there was still an inheritance that was promised unto them within the earth. Even after Rome destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people were scattered throughout the far reaches of the earth, the Lord still preserved their inheritance within the earth, and in 1948 the people of Israel were permitted to return to their land. Despite the fact that they had been scattered abroad within and throughout the earth, there was still an inheritance that was carefully being watched over, guarded and preserved by the living God until that day came when they could return unto that place given and promised unto them. It is this language of being strangers and foreigners in a strange land I want you to keep in the forefront of your mind when you read the words which the apostle Peter wrote unto the strangers which were scattered abroad, for despite the fact that they were strangers scattered abroad—perhaps scattered apart and away from their original homes—there was still an inheritance which was preserved, protected and prepared for them. I find it absolutely amazing that the apostle Peter directly links being strangers scattered abroad within and throughout the earth with an inheritance which is prepared for them in heaven—in heaven where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, and where thieves cannot break in and steal. After the time of their slavery had drawn to a close the children of Israel exited the land of Egypt, spent a brief forty years in the wilderness, and eventually entered into the land of Canaan in order to take possession of it. After the time of their capacity had been completed and fulfilled, the children of Israel were once more permitted to return unto the land of their inheritance, and unto the land of promise. After several centuries of being scattered abroad throughout the earth, the children of Israel were once more permitted to return unto the place of their inheritance. All this points to and proves one singular reality—the reality that despite the land they were dwelling in as strangers and foreigners, they still had an inheritance which was prepared by, preserved by, and protected by the living God.
The apostle Peter opens the epistle by writing to and addressing “the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” and he immediately transitions to writing and speaking of the abundant mercy which the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has begotten within us, as He prepares us for a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ form the dead. What’s more, is that despite the fact that the elect of God were strangers which were scattered within and throughout the earth, they were still partakers and recipients of an inheritance which was incorruptible, undefined, and which fades not away—one that was reserved in heaven for them. What’s more, is that despite the fact that they were strangers which were scattered abroad throughout the earth, they were being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation which was ready to be revealed in the last time. Please don’t miss this, for not only was an inheritance being preserved by the living God, but there was also a people who were being preserved by the living God. Just as surely as the land of inheritance was preserved by the living God during seventy years of captivity, and just as the land was preserved for several centuries after the destruction of the second Jewish temple, so also were the people being preserved and protected by the living God. This is the language we must recognize and understand when we read the words of the apostle Peter, for these strangers which were scattered were being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation which was ready to be revealed in the last time. Moreover, they were able to greatly rejoice—despite the fact that for a season, if need be, they found themselves in heaviness through manifold temptations, in order that the trial of their faith, being much more precious than of gold which perishes, though it be tried in the fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. It was in response to this that those which were scattered abroad as strangers were to gird up the loins of their mind, to be sober, and to hope to the end for the grace which was to be brought unto them at the revelation of Jesus Christ. In light of the preservation in the midst of manifold temptations, and in light of their preservation as strangers and pilgrims in a land not their own, they were to make the conscious decision to not fashion themselves according to the former lusts in their ignorance, but were to instead be holy in all manner of conversation. What’s more, is they were to pass the time of their sojourning within and upon the earth in fear, knowing that they had not been purchased and redeemed with incorruptible things such os silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
I absolutely love what we find in the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter, for while it is true the apostle Peter was writing unto strangers who were undoubtedly living in a land and lands not their own, they not only had an inheritance reserved for them in heaven, but they had also been purchased and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that they were being preserved by the living God according to Jesus Christ in the earth—this despite the fact that they were strangers which had been scattered abroad within and throughout the earth. These strangers who were living in a land which was not their own—i.e. this physician and natural realm and sphere called earth—had as their testimony that not only were they being preserved by the powers of God in the midst of their surroundings, but so also was the Lord preserving for them an inheritance which was reserved for them in heaven. In all reality, I am convinced that it is necessary to be strangers and foreigners in this earth, for by being so we admit that this world is not our home, and that ships world has absolutely nothing for us. Although these saints and disciples were scattered abroad throughout the earth, they could bear up and endure in any place they were, for they knew that their true home, and their true inheritance was not found here on the earth, but was reserved for them in heaven. Displaced saints and scattered disciples still had an inheritance which was prepared for them by the living God according to the finished work which was completed by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago on the cross. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it helps shine an incredible light on the words we find and read in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter. Oh that we find read the words contained in this chapter and would not only come face to face with the inheritance which has been prepared for and reserved for us in heaven, but also that we would live our lives on this spinning ball as strangers and pilgrims—as the children of Israel were strangers in the land of Egypt, and as the children of Israel were strangers in Assyria and Babylon. OH that we would truly examine ourselves and our hearts and truly recognize and understand where our treasure is, and where our heart truly is. Oh that we would live our lives for an inheritance which is not found here on earth, and that our hearts would long for a home which can never be found within the natural realm of time and space, but is reserved for us in heaven—far out of reach of thieves who would steal, and adversaries and enemies which would seek to destroy.