By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:8–10).
As we near the end of this journey of engaging with the concept of pilgrimage, we return to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through this faith-building passage from the letter to the Hebrews. This chapter lists hero after hero in the Bible who followed God’s call on their life. They lived by faith while enduring hardship, welcoming from afar the fulfillment of the promises of God.
For me, a line from our text that stands out is that Abraham didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t have the latest GPS update, his travel route planned out in detail down to which hotel he would stay in on night twenty-three. Rather he set out, trusting God, with herds and children and servants and household goods, journeying laboriously through heat and sunshine. I’m continually directionally challenged, so the thought of going on a journey without Gertie, our so-named GPS, sends shivers down my spine. I’m a much more content traveler when someone else is navigating – at least when it’s a physical journey.
And Abraham made mistakes: to Pharaoh he passed off his wife as his sister so that the Egyptians wouldn’t kill him; he gave into Sarah’s request that he sleep with her maid so to hurry up the process of him receiving the promised heir. Yet the writer to the Hebrews doesn’t mention these errors in judgment; rather he says that Abraham obeyed and went. I find that encouraging. Though we may follow the wrong course or get off-track, God forgives us and, if we are faithful, will say that we too obeyed and went.
Prayer: Lord God, direct my footsteps this day that I might walk the path that leads to joy, peace, and righteousness.