In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the writer listed a kind of honor roll of many faithful saints of the Old Testament. Then, he said,
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 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 a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13–16 nasb)
These forerunners in the faith—men and women who are our examples in so many ways—confessed that they were strangers and exiles on this earth. They did not really belong; they were seeking a country of their own.
There are multitudes of refugees in our world today who are going through the agony of having no permanent place of their own. The people in Hebrews, too, were seeking a place of their own—but not in this world. If they had wanted to, they could have gone back to the place from which they came. Abraham, for instance, could have returned to Ur of the Chaldeans. But he had his mind set forward; he was not looking backward. They desired a better country—that is, a heavenly one. Then, we read that beautiful sentence, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” When we identify ourselves with God—with His preparation of a city for us—then He is proud to be our God. He has prepared a city—for them, for us.