The Joys of Heaven

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

A Needful Reality

In his magnificent summary of God’s faithfulness in Joshua 21:43–45, the unknown author of the book lists three indications of God’s favor toward Israel. First, He has given the Israelites the land He promised them. Second, He has brought a cessation of their long labors. And third, He has caused them to triumph over their enemies. In short, God has given them a home, rest, and victory. And in His benevolence to Israel, we see a picture of God’s kind intention toward His people in all times and places. The Bible tells us that we, too, will have a home, sweet rest, and ultimate victory. But it is clear that these things will not be ours in this life; we will experience them in full only in heaven.

Through the centuries, Christians have drawn great encouragement from knowing that these things awaited them beyond the grave. Not so today. Many contemporary believers, especially Westerners, being blessed with freedom of religion, good health, and abundant material goods, are at ease in Zion. Thus, we tend to fix our eyes on the here and now, not the prize that awaits us. But in doing so, we deny ourselves the kind of hope that sustained the Israelites. To combat this tendency, we will spend the next few days looking at what awaits believers after death.

Jesus clearly asserts the existence of heaven, and promises that believers will have a place there. In John 14, speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room on the night before His crucifixion, HeJesus urges them not to let their hearts be troubled. This is a call to faith, to trust. He notes that they believe in God; therefore, they ought to have faith in Jesus, too, because God has declared who He is by speaking from heaven and empowering Him to do wonders. Then, having called them to faith in Him, He gives the disciples some of His most magnificent promises about heaven. It truly exists, He says, and He is about to go there to prepare a place for them. In time, He will come back to take them there. They can and should believe these things, He says, for He, their God-attested Lord and Savior, would not mislead them.

CORAM DEO Living before the face of God

Do you think much about heaven? Why or why not? If your answer is no, is it because your life here is so comfortable that you have little desire to experience the riches of glory? Give thanks for God’s blessings to you in the here and now, but begin today to ask Him to help you look forward to dwelling in His heavenly courts.

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