BOUND FOR THE PROMISED LAND
HEBREWS 11: 1-3, 8-16; LUKE 12: 32-40
AUGUST 18, 2019
I wonder if any of you have seen the Robin Williams movie called “RV?” For those of you who
haven't seen this movie, it would be well worth it. The movie is about how Robin Williams and his
family decide to rent an RV and travel across the country. And in true Robin Williams fashion, the
trip is hilarious!
Perhaps you can remember taking family trips or family vacations when things didn't go exactly as
planned. Maybe you got lost because the GPS wasn't working, or you were too embarrassed to stop
and ask for directions. Maybe your car broke down or you ended up staying in a flea bag motel.
I once road with someone who drove the wrong way down a one way street in downtown Boston!
Our Scripture today is about two of our all time heroes of the faith, Abraham and his wife Sarah. Not
only are they heroes of the Christian faith, but they are also heroes of the Jewish faith and the Muslim
faith. So most of the world has a connection with them. Abraham and Sarah started out living in
Mesopotamia. When they were in their seventies, God told them to leave their families and friends
and all that was familiar to them and to go on the world's longest road trip. The catch was that they
didn't know where they were going. They had to trust that God would show them the way. My parents
are in their eighties and nineties and for them even traveling from Gilford to Concord is a big deal.
How many of us would be willing to leave all that we knew and to pack up and not even know where
we were going?
Yet Abraham and Sarah believed in God's promises. They set out with everything they had and spent
the rest of their lives living in tents and moving from place to place. They trusted that Yahweh would
take care of them. And God never let them down.
Besides having a place to live, Sarah and Abraham also longed to have a child. At this point in their
lives, they were way past childbearing years. The writer of Hebrews goes as far to say that they were
“as good as dead,” which is not exactly a very kind thing to say. Then God told them that they
would have a son and eventually Isaac was born. This was truly a miracle.
Then came the test, God told Abraham to sacrifice the very son whom they had waited for all their
lives. Abraham trusted that Jehovah would still somehow provide, even in this situation. Then just
as Abraham raised the knife to kill his only son, God intervened and provided a ram instead, just as
our Heavenly Father provided His Son, Jesus to die in our place on the cross. God said that because
Abraham was willing to sacrifice the child promised to him, God would bless Abraham and his
descendants and that all the nations would be blessed because of the faith of Abraham. One of the
blessings would be that one of Abraham and Sarah's descendants would be Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Because of Sarah and Abraham's faith, thereafter, God referred to Himself as the God of Abraham.
We may not realize this, but we have a lot in common with Sarah and Abraham. The people of First
Church and the people of West Church are also on a journey. We are on a lifelong pilgrimage of faith.
Like these two saints of old, we don't know where God is leading us. The future is uncertain and
sometimes a little scary. Both of our churches are heading into uncharted territory.
Trust does not come easily to us. Yet we have to trust others every day. We have to trust the pilot of
the airplane we ride in. We have to trust that the food at the market or restaurant is safe to eat. We
have to trust the caregiver taking care of our parents or the daycare worker who cares for our children
or grandchildren. Trust is not an easy thing. We want to be the ones in control of our lives. Trusting
God is not always easy either.
We all yearn for things and hope for things. Sometimes we get an answer to our prayers right away.
We find a job or a place to live. We have money to pay the bills. The treatment works and a loved one
is healed. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like. Sometimes our Heavenly Father gives us
what we ask for, and other times we get something unexpected. But the God of Abraham and Sarah is
still with us, and walks beside us every day. And Jehovah has promised that He will never leave us or
In our Luke passage, Jesus tells us how to live as people of faith. We are told that instead of building
up treasure on earth, we need to build up treasure in heaven. For where our treasure is, there our
heartswill be also. Last week we learned that we all have a figurative barn. All our lives we are storing up
either earthly treasure or heavenly treasure in these storehouses. Jesus said in Luke 9: 25- “What does
it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” Not only will our earthly
treasure not get us through the pearly gates, but it will eventually come to nothing.
Instead, we are told to invest in heavenly treasure. We invest in heavenly treasure when we reach out
to our neighbors and help those who are in need. We invest in heavenly treasure when we show the
love of God not just inside the walls of our churches, but to those in our community. A kind word or
a kind deed is a wonderful witness to others.
We need to be good stewards of our time, talent and treasure. For all that we are and all that we have
comes from God and ultimately belongs to him. We need to honor the Savior with what we do with
what has been given to us.
Jesus uses the example of the servants who are waiting for their master to return. In Bible times, it was
customary for the servants to wait by the front door with lit torches, prepared to welcome their master.
If a servant was not waiting at the door, or if they fell asleep or if their torch went out, then that one
would be considered unfaithful.
We need to be faithful stewards to the work that Jehovah has given us. Luke tells us to be dressed for
action and to do the work of the kingdom. What would you do if you knew that Christ was going to
return tomorrow, or next week? Wouldn't you be busy doing the work of the kingdom, so as to be
ready when He arrives? One of my customers owns a store. She will often come in on her day off to
find that her staff came in late or left early or might be asleep in the back office. We don't want to be
found asleep or not doing our jobs when Christ returns. In the ancient world, the servants would wait
on the lord of the house and his family first, then they would be allowed to eat. We are told that
if God finds us faithful when he returns, that instead of us serving Him, that He will serve us at a
It's not easy living as a people of faith. But faith in God is what keeps us going through the tough
times of our lives. Sarah and Abraham trusted in Jehovah and He watched over them through the good
times and the not so good times. First Church and West Church have also been through good times and
not so good times, and God has always been there and He will always be there for us. And I believe
that God has more good times in store for both of our churches.
I close with the words of Jeremiah 29:11. The people of Israel were going through an uncertain time,
just as we are . These are words of hope that God spoke to them and to us as well. This is what He
said, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for
harm, to give you a future with hope.” The God of Abraham and Sarah was with them, and He will be
with us as we journey to the promised land. Amen.
Food Pantry Needs
Cream Style Corn
Dish and Laundry Detergent