“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 for them a city.”- Hebrews 11:16 (ESV)
Our verse today records a promise that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and many others in the Scriptures. He promised that He was “not ashamed to be called their God.” Wouldn’t we want very much for God to say the same to us; “I am not ashamed to be called your God?” This possibility is surrounded by one reason before and one reason after. Take the one after, first: “…for he has prepared for them a city.” This first reason is that God has worked for us by doing something for us. He made us a city — the heavenly city “whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). It is not the other way around. Now, consider the reason he gives in the front. It goes like this: “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” The word “Therefore” signals that a reason has just been given for why God is not ashamed to be called our God. The reason is we desire a better country — a better country than the earthly one we live in. We desire a heavenly one where God is.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” – Romans 1:16-17 (ESV)
These are words of testimony from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the believers living in Rome. He wanted to preach and teach in Rome. These two verses form the thesis of the entire letter—the gospel of Jesus Christ—which Paul unfolds and clarifies in the following chapters. The apostle was not reluctant to preach the gospel, for he loved that good news. Our promise is that the righteousness from God is ours and is available to everyone who in faith believe. There is no distinction in God’s family. The push in our world today to identify each other by race or by any other classification is purely a human method of manipulation and it is not of God. We are promised and declared righteous in Christ by believing in His word. That is how we live, believing in why He came to earth. That’s the gospel Paul was not ashamed to preach. He suffered imprisonment, was chased out and had to be smuggled out of cities. He was laughed at, called a fool and even stoned nearly or to death. Because of God’s promise let’s also be eager to proclaim our faith in the Gospel.
“ For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:7 (NASB)
When once we decide that we will no longer fight the efforts of God to help us by attempting to make our life a DIY project, we will find help from the Lord GOD. When we try to do it ourselves, what happens is that our failures will eventually bring us to shame. It is a shameful thing, a disgraceful action to reject the help of God. If we think we can manage any single small part of our lives we should certainly be ashamed of ourselves because our shame will be known by all when the day of visitation is here. Setting our face like flint means we take a course that we purpose to not waver from. That’s a resolution worth making, don’t you think? Not only Isaiah talked about this, listen now to what the apostle Peter wrote to us. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”*
*1 Peter 4:16-17 (ESV)
“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.” Isaiah 45:24 (ESV)
Today’s verse is an example of God giving to His prophet the very words that He wanted written down and delivered to His people. This is why it is correct to call the Bible the Word of God. We know that its teachings come from our creator. Sometimes God gave his prophets the words to say in various methods. One of those methods was to instruct the prophet to copy verbatim His words and deliver them as a message in God’s words. In this instance Isaiah received the Word of God directly from God. God predicted here what people would say about Him. If we are walking close to the Lord in our Christian life we can say what God predicted we would say. Yes, as we walk with the Lord we find that He is the source of our ability to live right. We find His righteousness keeps us in the straight way. It is how we find strengths that we need to do what we’ve been given to do. Walking close to the source of the promised strength, let’s commit to doing that today.