Saturday, October 11, 2008


I suppose I should explain the word "toshav." The term is the transliteration of the Hebrew term which most English versions of the Bible translate as "sojourner", and, from what I've read, carries a meaning of "resident alien", or "stranger in a foreign land." I'll be studying Hebrew next year, so if I find out I'm using this word/translation incorrectly I'll make amends at that time.

So, what does the word "sojourner" have to do with me? Recently, in my Old Testament History class, the professor was discussing Abraham and the intense amount of faith it would have taken for him to leave his father's family to become a sojourner (foreigner, alien, etc.) in Canaan. Apparently, in ancient near eastern culture one's security and well-being were defended by one's family. There was no 911, National Guard, or hostage rescue team to help you out of a jam. If you and your family were injured or violated there was no court system to hear a civil suit or with which to file criminal charges. There was your family, though. Your family's strength became your security. When Abraham left his family, he left his security. He didn't have a United States Passport which provided him the support of the US should something go wrong in this new country. From an earthly perspective, he was on his own. What he had, though, was God. When he left his family he was making a statement to God that God would be his security. When you think about it, that's quite a powerful statement and one we all should strive to make.

As a Christian, I believe whole-heartedly that this life I live right now is but the briefest of events when compared to eternity. My ultimate citizenship is heavenly, and my ultimate family bond is with my Heavenly Father. As a result, I am but a resident alien, a foreigner, a sojourner in this life. My security rests in God. Despite the loving and devoted wife I am blessed with and adore, my ultimate security is not with a spouse. Despite the compassionate family I get to claim, my ultimate security is not with relatives. Despite being a citizen of a country that offers military protection and religious freedom, my ultimate security is not with the United States. My security comes from the God Almighty!

1 comment:

jena said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I've actually been meaning to ask Mark what that word meant but kept forgetting - now I don't have to!
Thanks for the update on your life too!