Tag Archives: Judaism

Isaiah 7:14: Is it really about Jesus or someone else?

Matthew 1:22–23 quotes Isaiah 7:14 as a prophecy about Jesus’ birth: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). However, many Jewish and non-Jewish authors have challenged Mathew’s claim and Christians for taking Isaiah 7:14 out of context, and applying it to a virgin birth and to a Messiah. They also point out that since Isaiah 7:16 says, “For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken”, this was not fulfilled by the Messiah. This short paper is a verse-by-verse study on Isaiah 7:1-16 to see if this chapter is indeed a prophecy of the Messiah or someone else.

Now it came about in the days of Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, the king of Aram and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not conquer it. (Isaiah 7:1, NASB, 1995)

Now it came about in the days of Ahaz. Ahaz was a wicked king of Judah, worshipping other gods and even sacrificing his son to Molech (2 Kings 16:1-4). The only good thing Ahaz seemed to do was to father Hezekiah, who became a good king of Judah.

Rezin, the king of Aram [Syria] and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it. The alliance between these two nations [Syria and Israel] and their unsuccessful attack on Jerusalem [of the Kingdom of Judah] is described in 2 Kings 16. [In about the 10th century BC, there was a great dispute in Israel, the nation chosen by God, about who was to become king (1 Kings 12:16-19). Two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, did not agree with the proposed king of Israel, Rehoboam. As a result,  the two tribes  decided to forsake their inheritance. They became the southern Kingdom of Judah. The northern 10 tribes remained one people group and kept the name of Israel.  The Kingdom of Israel in the north, contained the cities of Shechem and Samaria; and the Kingdom of Judah in the south, contained the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple]. 

But could not conquer it. How was Ahaz saved from this attack? Because he entered into an ungodly alliance with Tiglath-Pileserking of Assyria, and even gave Tiglath-Pileser silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD as a present to win his favor and protection (2 Kings 16:7-9).

When it was reported to the house of David, saying, “The Arameans have camped in Ephraim,” his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind. (Isaiah 7:2, NASB, 1995)

When it was reported to the house of David. That is, the royal family; or the king and princes; the government of Judah. Ahaz was the descendant and successor of David.

“The Arameans [Syrians] have camped in Ephraim,” Ephraim is another title for the northern nation of Israel. King Ahaz heard again that Syria and Israel had joined together to make war against Judah.

His heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind. King Ahaz and his people reacted with fear instead of with trust in God. They were shaken and unstable in their hearts.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field (Isaiah 7:3, NASB, 1995)

Then the Lord said to Isaiah. With this threat looming against Judah [the House of David], the Lord sends Isaiah to give assurance to Ahaz.

Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub. Isaiah is told to go out to meet Ahaz, however, not by himself, but also specifically with his son Shear-jashub. Frequently, commentators overlook this command to bring the boy as if it were an unnecessary detail. There appears to be a purpose for taking his son as we will soon see. 1

At the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field. It was probably a subterranean duct which brought water into the city from the high ground outside the Damascus gate. Ahaz may have visited it in order to see that it was made available for his own use, but not for the enemy’s. These seemingly irrelevant details also make an important point. All this happened to real people at a real time and in real places. 

And say to him, ‘Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be faint hearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. (Isaiah 7:4, NASB, 1995)

Seemingly, Ahaz needed to pay attention (take care) and stop his talking about the problem (be calm). He needed to trust God and take courage in the LORD (do not fear or be fainthearted). God looked at Israel and Syria and saw two stubs of smoking firebrands. To the LORD, they were all smoke and no fire. 2


Because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has planned evil against you, saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” 
(Isaiah 7:5-6, NASB, 1995)

Because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah. Not that there were three parties in the confederacy against Judah, only two, the kingdoms of Syria [Aram] and Ephraim, or Israel; the king of the former [Syria] is not mentioned at all, and the latter [Israel] only as if he was the son of a private person, which is purposely done by way of contempt.

“Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it. The words imply an assault on the line of fortresses that defended Judah.

Set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it. Nothing more is known of this person. He might have been some captain, unrelated to the House of David, who had sought to aid of Rezin [King of Syria] and Pekah [King of Israel]. To set him up on the throne would mean that the entire house of David was endangered, and also the hope of a Messiah from David’s lineage.

Thus says the Lord God: “It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass.  (Isaiah 7:7)

Setting up the Son of Tabeel meant that the entire house of David was endangered. Were Syria and Israel to succeed, the messianic promise of a future son of David who would have an eternal house, kingdom, and throne (2 Samuel 7:16) would be demolished. But such a thing will not come to fulfillment. 3

For the head of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin (now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people), and the head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, you surely shall not ]last.” (Isaiah 7:8-9)

For the head [capital] of Aram [Syria] is Damascus and the head [ruler] of Damascus is Rezin. Syria and Ephraim have merely human heads – the one Rezin, the other Pekah (the son of Remaliah); but Judah, it is implied, has a Divine Head.

Now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people. Isaiah predicted that within 65 years, the northern kingdom of Israel would no longer be recognized as a people. It was completely fulfilled in 669 BC when Ashurbanipal enacted the final population transfers between Israel and Assyria (Ezr 4:2, 10). Thus in 669 BC, 65 years from the date of the events described in Isaiah’s prophecy, the northern kingdom was indeed “shattered to be a people” (verse 8) and the land was inhabited by Samaritans, a people of mixed ethnicity (Ezra 4:2).

If you will not believe, you surely shall not last. The prophet reads the thoughts that were working in the king Ahaz’s mind. He had no faith in these predictions terminating at a date which he was not likely to live to witness. If he did not put confidence in God, and his promises, he should not be protected from Syria and Ephraim [Israel].

Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” (Isaiah 7:10-11)

Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God”. The Lord Himself has just called upon Ahaz to ask for a sign.

Make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven. “Make it [the sign] deep as Sheol or high as heaven”, it appears that Ahaz was to ask for a miraculous or supernatural sign.

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” (Isaiah 7:12)

Ahaz, with false piety, refuses to test God. The disingenuous nature of his response is plain in that this is a king who had so little regard for the Lord that he practiced idolatry, even offering his own son as a child sacrifice to Molech (2Kg 16:3; 2Ch 28:3). While he might claim biblical justification (Deut 6:16) for his refusal to ask or test the Lord (verse 12), this seems ridiculous because the Lord Himself has just called upon him to do so.

Then he said, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? (Isaiah 7:13)

Then he said, “Listen now, O house of David! Isaiah speaks now but His address shifts away from Ahaz to the whole house of David. This is evident not only from the vocative “house of David” but also from the change of singular pronouns and verbs of command (Isaiah 7:4, 11) to plural. When addressing Ahaz alone, the singular was used. However, in Isaiah 7:13-14, Isaiah used the second-person plural. This is not an obvious change in the English Bible, but in verse 13, the imperative verb “listen” is plural. The reason for the shift is that God was clearly fed up with this wicked and sanctimonious king, so he addressed the royal house he represented.1

Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? The rulers of Judah were not satisfied with wearying people, but they would also fatigue and wear out the patience of God.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 9:14). 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Isaiah declared that, nonetheless, the Lord would give the House of David a sign. Since the northern alliance was threatening to replace Ahaz with the son of Tabeel, the entire house of David was endangered, and the messianic promise of a future son of David was also threatened. This provides the need for a long-term sign of hope. What is that sign?

Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son.  The sign that the Lord promised the house of David is that of a pregnant almah who would bear a son. This indeed would meet the qualification of the “sign” that is “deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (Isaiah 7:10-11). The use of the article (frequently untranslated in modern English versions) with the word almah indicates that the Lord has a specific woman in mind. In its every use in the Hebrew Bible, the word almah either refers to a virgin or has a neutral sense. While the Hebrew word bethulah could refer to a virgin of any age, almah would refer to a virgin that has just arrived at puberty.1

Moreover, Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 1:22–23) was probably quoting from the Septuagint — a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek completed around the 2nd century BCE. The Septuagint translated הָעַלְמָה (ha’almah) as parthenos — meaning “virgin”. Since the Septuagint predates Christianity, there’s no reason to think that the translators intentionally changed the meaning. Rashi, one of the most influential Jewish commentators, stated that some Jews understood the verse as prophecy about a virgin birth:

“And some interpret that this is the sign, that she was a young girl and incapable of giving birth.” (The Jewish Bible with a Modern English Translation and Rashi’s Commentary, Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg). 4

Hence, it is not necessary to abandon the traditional interpretation of almah as a “virgin” except for an anti-supernatural or anti-messianic bias. 

She will call His name Immanuel. The virgin mother of the child will recognize His special nature. Therefore, she will give Him the title “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” The message to Judah was that God would be with them in a special way through this child. This was true of Jesus in fact, not only as a title: Immanuel speaks both of the deity of Jesus (God with us) and His identification and nearness to man (God with us).

He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good (Isaiah 9:15). 

The Lord continues His description of the virgin-born Davidic Messiah, giving a clue to the situation into which He would be born. Many mistake the butter and honey He would eat as the food of royalty, ignoring the context in Isaiah 7 itself. Later in the chapter, Isaiah writes of the coming Assyrian oppression, when Assyria would shave the land (Isaiah 7:20). At that time, fields will not be cultivated and will become pastures for oxen and sheep (Isaiah 7:23-25). The effect of this will be an overabundance of dairy (or butter/curds) because of the pasturing of livestock and an excess of honey because bees will be able to pollinate the wild flowers. Therefore, because of “the abundant milk they give,” a man “will eat butter [curd], for every survivor in the land will eat butter and honey” (7:21-22). So, in this passage, butter and honey do not represent the food of royalty but rather the food of oppression. The point then of the description of the future virgin-born, Davidic king eating curd and honey is to accentuate that he would be born during a time of political oppression. In other words, the prophecy of Messiah concludes with a hint that He will be born and grow up (“learning to reject what is bad and choose what is good”) at a time when Judah is oppressed by a foreign power. It also shows that Jesus is not only fully God (He is Immanuel), but He is also fully Human (grow up). 

For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken (Isaiah 7:16).

While many have considered verse 16 to be a continuation of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:13-15, the grammar of the passage suggests otherwise. The opening phrase in Hebrew can reflect an adversative nuance, allowing for a disjunction between the child described in Isaiah 7:13-15 and the one described in Isaiah 7:16. This is also indicated in the shift from plural (verse 13-15) to singular (verse 16). There is a different child in view in this verse. So, who is the child?

In light of Isaiah being directed to bring his own son to the confrontation with the king at the conduit of the upper pool (Isaiah 7:3), it makes most sense to identify this lad as Shear-jashub. Otherwise, there would be no purpose for God directing Isaiah to bring the boy.  Thus, having promised the virgin birth of the Messiah (Isaiah 7:13-15), the prophet then points to the small boy that he has brought along and says, “But before this boy (using the article with a demonstrative force) knows to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken”. In this way, Shear-jashub functioned as a sign to the king. Appropriately, Isaiah could tell Judah in the very next chapter, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 8:18).

Therefore, in Isaiah 7:10-11, Isaiah used the singular to address King Ahaz. Then, when addressing the house of David with the prophecy of Messiah (Isaiah 7:13), he shifted to the plural. But in Isaiah 7:16, he addressed King Ahaz, using the singular pronoun once again and giving him a near prophecy: before Shear-jashub would be able to discern good from evil, the northern confederacy attacking Judah would fail. Within two years, Tiglath-Pileser defeated both Israel and Syria, just as the prophet had predicted. Therefore verse 16 cannot and does not apply to the Messiah child, but Isaiah’s child, and this interpretation is in line with the context and the grammar of the chapter.

References

1. The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecies: Studies and Expositions of the Messiah in the Old Testament, eds. Michael Rydelnik & Edwin Blum, published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 2019, pp. 815-830.

2. David Guzik: Isaiah 7, https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/isaiah-7/

3. Biblehub, commentaries: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/7-13.htm

4. Nick Meader: Is Isaiah 7:14 About Jesus or Someone Else? https://medium.com/interfaith-now/is-isaiah-7-14-about-jesus-or-someone-else-84f25d327e0f

See also: Isaiah 53:1-12: Israel or Messiah?

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Hebrews 11:13-22 – A Better City

We reminded ourselves last time that everybody lives by faith. It’s not just the Christians; everybody lives by faith. The question is: faith in what? “What is the object of our faith?” Everybody deep within their souls has a longing—a longing for something that will satisfy, a longing for something that gives us significance. We have these deep real longings in our souls as people made in the image of God, and there are millions of people who believe somehow, some way, those deepest longings can be satisfied in this world. They believe somehow this world will ultimately make them happy…will make them significant…will meet the deepest needs in their soul. In essence, they do believe you can create heaven on earth. Most of us here would say, “We simply don’t have that much faith.” We look at the world, such as it is, and it just seems like a reckless leap of faith. Rather we choose to believe there’s got be something different and something better. That’s what we want to talk about today in Chapter 11.  

It’s our second part in Hebrews 11, and it would be good to go back to verse 1 and just remind ourselves again of the Hebrews’ definition of faith. So: “Faith is the assurance, (the confidence) of things hoped for.” Again, hope in the New Testament is something that is certain but it is also something that is yet future. This word assurance is a word that can also be translated as the substance. In other words, it’s something I believe so strongly that it actually becomes the substance or the foundation of my life. I believe it to such a degree that I live in such a way that I actually give people a glimpse today of the world to come. It is: “…the conviction of things not seen,” which reminds us this is a faith that is thoughtful; it’s reasoned; it’s not just a reckless leap of faith, but rather we have examined the evidence and concluded, “This is what we believe is true.” The writer then goes on to illustrate this kind of faith through people like Abel, through Enoch, through Noah, through Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Jacob, which is where we pick up the story in verse 13: 

All of these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. (*NASB, Hebrews 11:13-15) 

This is very important to understand. What the writer says is all of these died in faith, without receiving the promises. We don’t like that. We want what we want, and we want it now. “I want the promises kept and I want them kept now!” Many Christians struggle with this desire to see the promises fulfilled and fulfilled now. We want to believe that somehow the deepest longings of our soul can be satisfied in this world. We want to somehow create heaven on earth.  

It’s a little bit like building your dream house in a war zone. And let’s imagine the builder tells you again and again not to do it, “It’s not going to work,” but you won’t listen; you insist! So he builds you your dream house in a war zone. Then you don’t like it. “It’s too noisy; it’s too dangerous!” But here’s the irony: Then you turn around and you blame the builder. That’s what we do. We take these promises and we want them fulfilled now; we want our best life now!  And so that is what we try to accomplish—heaven on earth.  

But this world just breaks our heart again and again and again, and when it doesn’t work out like we want it to, then we blame God. And God says, “Wait a minute, that’s not what I promised. I didn’t promise your best life now.” You can sell a lot of books with that theme; you can fill a big auditorium with that theme, but it simply isn’t what God promises. What God promises is: this is going to be tough. This is going to be hard. The hope of the gospel is the reminder that one day Jesus is coming back and we will be ushered to the place that our souls long for.  

Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob—they all believed the promise that God would give them a land, but they all lived in tents. They all died having never seen the promise fulfilled. The text said they were aliens and strangers. They were saying, “This world is not my home—at least not as it is now.”  The writer says they wanted to find a place to call home, and if they were referring to the cities from which they left, they could have just gone back home. Moving to some other place, trying some other thing is not going to cut it. But rather with eyes of faith, they knew they were headed for somewhere else. Verse 16: 

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  

They understood that even the land of promise is but a shadow of the eventual city their souls long for—which is not an earthly city—it is a heavenly city that will be everything that they longed for. But they believed by faith. They lived by faith; they died by faith…believing it’s true. It’s very interesting what the last part of verse 16 says: Therefore…  As a result of that—remembering that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, these were not perfect people—go back and read their stories. There were times of struggle, times of death; there were times when they seriously messed up. Jacob was a liar; he was a schemer; you don’t even like the guy after you read his story. The message has never been on the basis of their performance but on the basis of their belief. They believed that God would keep His promise.  Therefore God is not ashamed.   

Verse 17: 

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac… (Vs. 17a)   

So this story is found in Genesis chapter 22; you can go back and read it for yourself. The verb tense here would indicate that in Abraham’s mind he had already offered Isaac. In other words, he wasn’t still wrestling with the idea.  He had settled it; he would offer his son, Isaac.  

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; (Vs. 17b)   

It’s the same language as John 3:16—For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. The language means specifically unique or special. We’re called the sons and daughters of God, but we’re not God’s only begotten Son in that special way that Jesus was. In the same way, Abraham had other sons, but they were not the son of promise—Isaac was! And so Abraham is wrestling with this idea that God promised that the seed would travel through Isaac, but He’s asking me to sacrifice Isaac on the altar. At this point Isaac would have been 12 or 13 years old. Verse 18: 

 …it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE  CALLED.”  (So, in his mind, Abraham had settled it.)  He considered… (That word is very strong. He had a deep, deep conviction…) that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. (Vs. 18-19) 

Essentially what the text is saying is that Abraham, in his mind had sacrificed Isaac—he had settled it. But he believed so strongly in the promise and that God tells the truth that somehow God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promise. As a matter of fact, if you go back to Genesis 22:5 and you read the story, Abraham says to his servants, “Wait at the bottom of the hill and we will return to you.” He believed with all of his heart that he and Isaac would return, and his way of making sense of that is, “God’s going to raise him from the dead.” 

But the other part of that story is in that moment when God stopped Abraham, He provided a ram, and the ram would die rather than Isaac. The ram would be the substitute for Isaac that would die that day. We don’t have to guess at this; the text actually tells us:  that was a type—a shadow, a picture. Isaac’s story was a type (parable, figure, illustration) of the fact that God will give us what He has promised. He was a type of Christ. We’ve had a lot of that in Hebrews. It was the reminder that one day on this same mountain, on Mount Moriah, there would be a Father who would actually sacrifice His only begotten Son for the sins of the world. He would be the substitute. He would be the Lamb of God who would die the death for Isaac, would die the death for Abraham, would die the death for all of us as sinners. We’ve learned this in Hebrews: He died our death. His blood is sufficient payment for sin. There’s nothing more that needs to be done.  

But what the story also includes is the resurrection—that Jesus not only died and was buried, but He conquered sin and death once and for all when He rose from the dead—literally, physically, bodily rose from the dead! That’s Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15—the basis by which we believe that we will experience resurrection after death, and it is not just religious talk, not just wishful thinking. It’s based on the fact that Jesus Himself literally, physically, bodily rose from the dead and conquered sin and death once and for all that we, too, might be resurrected and live even though we die. Verse 20: 

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.  (Vs. 20-22)  

The text is reminding us that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph believed the promise, but they would die having never seen it fulfilled. They would never inherit the land in their lifetime. What did Abraham have to pass on to Isaac? The promise! What did Isaac have to pass on to his sons Jacob and Esau? The promise! “Boys, I know we’ve been living in a tent our whole lives, but God tells the truth. We have to trust Him.”  Joseph so believed the promise that he said, “Don’t bury me here.” Egypt was his home. “Take the bones to Canaan, because that will be our land.” It would be over four hundred years before God would raise up Moses to deliver them out of the land of Egypt into the land of promise.  Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, his sons— they’d all be buried in Canaan. But at the time of the burial, the land would belong to someone else. They just believed by faith, one day God will keep His promise. But it was more than that. They understood the land of promise was yet but a picture of something more. They were aliens and strangers; they were passing through; they wanted a country of their own which ultimately would be a heavenly city that would be everything their souls longed for. It is interesting that in verse 16God had prepared a place. It was past tense—God already had the city ready. . The root of this hope is found in the resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus literally, physically, bodily rose from the dead, He did not rise from the dead with a new body. He rose from the dead with a resurrected body. He showed the imprints of the nails in His hands; He showed the scar in His side. 

It was the body that was crucified and buried that rose again. This is Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15.  That is the basis by which we believe this body, such as it is, is the body that will be raised from the dead. This mortal will put on immortality. This body will be restored to me and it will be changed and it will be made the way God intended it to be. It’s the picture of redemption, of restoration, of making right what was taken and broken. This is critically important to understand because it is the message filled with such hope! The things that broke our heart, the things that disappointed us, the things in this world that simply were not the way we had hoped they would be, somehow they’re made right and restored and given back.  

The more you understand this, the more you believe this—the more it changes the way you live everyday. The more it changes your priorities, the more it changes your perspective, the more it changes your values—the more you realize what matters and what doesn’t matter. I’m not trying to create heaven on earth. I’m an alien and a stranger and I’m headed to a better place. God made a promise, and I believe that God tells the truth and I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. And I live by faith and I will die in faith, having never seen the promise fulfilled, but believing with all my heart it is true! And there will come a day…finally…where I will finally be home! 

Our Father, it’s hard to even process the depth of the hope of the gospel. God, we know this world teases us; this world breaks our hearts again and again. And it just reminds us this world is not our home—that we are aliens and strangers—and by faith we are headed to a better city—a place that will finally be home! God, until that day, find us faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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