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The Rev. William Klock: “The Word: The Sojourner’s Help” (Psalm 119:17-24)

June 27, 2010

Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia is continuing a series of sermons on Psalm119, and next in that series is The Word: The Sojourner’s Help which is based on Psalm 119:17-24.  I really liked what he has to say about verse 19:

I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

The more we walk with God, the more we’re going to feel like this world and its ways no longer belong to us.  The more we walk in the ways of heaven, the more we’re going to realise that our true home is heaven.  That’s what “sojourner” meant to the ancient Hebrews.  A sojourner was a foreigner living in the land, but one who had no inherited rights to it.  He didn’t really belong and was only there temporarily.  That’s what God’s people are here.

Now, think about the fact that this is probably David—King David—writing this and calling himself a sojourner.  First, David was living in the very land that God had given to his people.  David had an inherited right to it.  But he wasn’t just an average citizen; he was the king of that land.  If anyone belonged there, it was David.  Can you imagine the Queen describing herself as a mere sojourner in England?  The Queen is England!  And yet that’s what David is saying here.  The more his eyes were opened to the riches of the Word, the more he knew that this earth is nothing more than a temporary home, even for the richest and most powerful.

With that in mind think about living abroad.  I’m not the only one here who has lived in a country that isn’t my own.  Thomas Manton put it well when he wrote, “A man’s greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest; therefore eternity should be his scope.”  I’m an American and I lived almost ninety per cent of my life in the United States.  Even after a couple of years, it’s a challenge for me to take an interest in Canadian politics.  My interest is still in the politics and goings on in my own country.  I’m sure that those of you who have lived abroad have had similar experiences.  But I do find that the longer I’m here, the more I actually do start to care about Canadian politics.  Now, if that’s true of our earthly interests, how much more should it be true of our spiritual interests?  You and I might at most live a hundred years in this world, but we’ll spend an eternity in heaven.  David realised this and that’s why he pleaded with God to show him his commandments.  God’s commandments were the guide that led him through this strange land.  Imagine being in a strange place where you’re not only not a citizen, but where you don’t understand the language and where you don’t understand the customs.  It’s a scary place because it’s so different.  You desperately want to get home and so you hold your passport tight to remind yourself of home and you follow your map as you walk down strange streets and roads, knowing that if you follow that map,  it will get you home.  Brothers and sisters, that’s how we Christians should feel in this world.  It’s not to say that we should be escapists whose only thought is for the day that Jesus will come and take us home.  He’s left us here so that we can do the work of his kingdom and make this strange land a better place and introduce more and more people to his kingdom, but as we do that, his Word is our passport—the reminder of our true citizenship—and it’s also our guidebook and roadmap to show us the way home.

That is quite a reassuring thought – that the Word is our passport showing we are citizens of the Kingdom, as well as our guidebook and roadmap home.  Would that we all realized that!

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