2003-03-04 - Place, City, Country
Genesis 4:17 And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
A while ago I did a devotional that asked you the question of what your favorite Place, City, and Country in the world are. I got quite an overwhelming response. It was very interesting. I will give you a quick summary. For country there was almost no duplication except the USA. I guess that can be expected. For city, there was almost no duplication except those who said the city where each of you live. I guess that can be expected. The question of "Place" was the most responded too. Taking second place in that department was the beach or the ocean. That was a great response. Taking first place was home. I guess that can be expected also. Today I hope to do a short Biblical study on the history of cities in the Bible, and then try to encourage you with some heavenly hope. However, I want to thank you so much for your responses. There are so many places on God's precious earth to see and I am keeping my lists, all 4 pages of them. They are special to me. Thank you for sharing your insight.
The verse we began with from Genesis 4 is, I think, the first mention of a city in the Bible. 2 Samuel 18:24 talks about how the cities were walled in the Old Testament times, and that continued until the Reformation. This is just an off the cuff, and personal observation from history, but I think the Reformation broke down those walls because there was now a freedom that focused more on Christ than on a person or an institution. There are some of these old walls in place still around the world and, my friends, they are worth seeing. But they seemed to have ended when the Reformation came in.
The cities in Old Testament times were where decisions were made. And what is interesting is that the same is done today. The other interesting thing about cities is that in the Bible the names of cities were often changed. Guess what? We do the same thing today. As I did my homework on cities I was very interested to find how much things have not changed amidst a world where so many things have changed and are constantly changing. All of my sources were at least 150 years old, and yet, in my life time the names of cities have changed in Russia and China, and in other nations time and time again. Human nature seems fairly constant.
So as we are talking about cities, I want to tell you a little about a city I am looking forward to seeing. If you have been reading these devotionals for a long time you might remember that I have done a couple devotionals on a theological controversy from the mid-19th century. That controversy was asking if we will know each other in heaven. I will make it easy, and say that I think we will know each other in heaven and my conclusion is that the closer the relation, the closer we will be in heaven, but I am not some stupid guru who knows all this stuff. I have no real idea what heaven will be like. I am like a gold speculator, guessing how good my eternity will be. However, I can guess based on Scripture, tradition, the wisdom of others and my own experience. That is all it is. God has this all planned out.
Heaven is a wonderful city to look forward too. When I was a baby Christian the music of Keith Green had a great influence on me. I remember in one of his songs he says that if God created this earth in six days, well, He has been working on heaven for 2000 years (John 14:2 -- where Jesus tells us that He is going to prepare a place for us.) Keith Green's comment on this is such a great thought to ponder. If God created this world in six days, and so many of you expressed the wonder of so many different places, well, if God did all this creation on earth in six days and He has been working on heaven for 2000 years, Green observes wisely that this place is a garbage dump compared to where we are heading.
I am looking forward to seeing many places on earth. As far as God's creation goes my favorite place has been Iceland. In the end, however, I can't wait for heaven. I am so thankful to Christ for the forgiveness I did not deserve and the gift of salvation that includes not only forgiveness, but the gift of heaven. Some of you might remember that I have called this an "overplus." I have not used the term for some time, but it really fits here. Heaven and eternity with the Lord is an overplus of salvation and I can't wait to visit that city. Christ's salvation from sin is not just forgiveness from sin, it is so much more, it is the future of eternity with the Lord in glory. Let us live up to this.
Soli Deo Gloria,