Being a stranger can be awkward. We don’t know the lingo, aren’t aware of all the traditions, and just simply don’t fit in. Perhaps we’re on an extended business trip, visiting another country, or moving to a different region. Whatever the case, there are times we find ourselves as strangers, and we long for a feeling of home.
Scripture calls us “strangers” here on earth (cf. 1 Peter 2:11). Problem is—we tend to forget we are strangers. That’s why we need to consistently come to the Bible to remind ourselves of who we are, to Whom we belong, and where our true home is. Psalm 119 presents a clear example of this in verse 19:
“I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.”
Such simple language, but so theologically rich. The Psalmist recognizes he is not home, and cries out boldly—and desperately—for the Lord. In fact, the immediate surrounding verses echo that prayer. The Psalmist cries out for God not to abandon him. In other words, it’s a plea born out of the heart-relationship he has with the Lord.
But notice the juxtaposition of the two lines. He recognizes he is a stranger, so he cries out for God’s commands. This echoes the cry of verse 12, and will be repeated several more times in the Psalm. The desire is not just to know a list of rules, but to know God Himself. The Scriptures reveal who God is , teach us how to live, and offer the promises and assurances of God. Take the book we opened with—1 Peter. Right off the bat, Peter begins the epistle by reminding “those who reside as aliens” that they have “a living hope” and “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:1-5). What glorious promises.
But as we said, we so easily forget these truths, forget who we are, forget Who’s we are. We get distracted by the enticements of the world. We get comfortable with our lives. We become discouraged by the “prosperity of the wicked’ (Psalm 73:3). We need to run to the Word and raise our eyes to Jesus and His promises. Our hope is found in Him. We are strangers here, but we have an eternal home with the Lord—that is where we truly belong.
Are there other aspects of remembering we are strangers? Of course. The point here is that we need to cling to the Word, for it reminds us of our true position in this world and where our real home is. And we should sing of it. There’s so many good songs that teach this truth, but I’ve had “Christ is Mine Forevermore” stuck in my head recently (link below). It’s a sobering song, but a song of joy and hope. I’d encourage you to check it out.
We have a home, but it’s not here. No matter how much we may feel like it is, that feeling’s only an illusion. God’s Word reminds us of this truth and drives us to seek the Lord all the more. He desires our hearts after all. And the more we realize we belong with Him, the more we will long for our Lord and our true home.
“Christ is Mine Forevermore” by Cityalight: