Foreigners In This World
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner, as all my fathers were. Psalm 39:12 NKJV
David did not see his life through the eyes of flesh, not through eyes that seek only after the things of this world. David saw that this natural life was fleeting and not his permanent residence. His place was with the Lord and while he would spend a brief period of time on this earth in this life, he would spend eternity with the Lord. David was able to see beyond the natural things of this life and know that his purpose on this earth was not to please himself, but to please the Father. In an earlier verse in this Psalm David said that every man at his best is but a vapor.
One of the strengths of David was that his heart was after God. This gave him insights into the spiritual realities and those insights told him that even as a king of Israel, who was called and anointed by God to the His king of Israel, he was nothing more than a foreigner in this life. He was just merely passing through on his way to eternity with the Father. David was keenly aware that even as the king of Israel his citizenship was not here on planet earth, but rather in heaven. His time on earth was brief but his time with God in heaven was forever.
We need to live our lives with the same understanding. It is hard because the things of this life demand our attention and then they become greater and of more importance in our minds than are the things of God. We need to live as sojourners, knowing that our high point is yet to come and not anything here on this earth.
Paul teaches the same principle to Timothy in his second letter to him:
3 You therefore must endure[a] hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV
Paul picks up on David’s awareness of priorities in this life and he tells Timothy, as well as us today, that we are soldiers serving the Lord Jesus and that those who are engaged in warfare (and that is the state of our existence in this life), not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life. In other words we are to look beyond the things we see in this life and not be moved by what is before us. Even as our culture turns away from the standards of the Bible and the morality of the Word evaporates, we remain unconcerned by them. Why? Because we are not citizens of this world but of heaven. We are merely passing through this life and as His Ambassadors and representatives we need not be overwhelmed at cultural compromise because our citizenship is not here in the United States, but rather in heaven. Our focus is on the Master and not the world or the things of this world. Just represent Him and He takes care of all the rest.
J Todd Hostetler