And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.…
I. THAT HOWEVER MEAN AND LOW THOSE RE WHO HAVE FORSAKEN THIS WORLD FOR GOD, LOOKING FOR A BETTER, GOD IS NOT ASHAMED OF THEM, OR ON THEIR PART, TO BE CALLED THEIR GOD.
1. To explain the import of this their privilege. It imports —
(1) That He is their God, how mean soever their lot be. Whatever they want they have Him for their God (Hebrews 8:10). But what can persons make of this in the want of earthly enjoyments? We answer, They may make all of it that is necessary to full contentment of heart (Habakkuk 3:17, 18). Full protection, full provision, for time and eternity, there is nothing more can be needed (Psalm 142:5).
(2) That He takes such a pleasure in them, and puts such an honour on them, that though the world should cast out their name as evil, He surnames Himself by them, and brings their name into His (Matthew 17:32).
(3) That He allows them to call Him their own God(John 20:28).
(4) That He allows them to depend on Him as their God, and to improve their relation to Him for all which they need; whoever casts them off, or refuses to help them, God will never put off His people with names, without the things signified by these names. If He is called their God, He will own His name in effect and reality; and indeed be a God to them, to all the intents and purposes of the covenant (Genesis 17:7).
(5) That He will own Himself to be their God before the world, whoever disown them.
(6) That He reckons it His honour to be their God, even though men should be ashamed to rub shoulders with them (Isaiah 46:13; 2 Corinthians 8:23).
2. To give the reasons of the point. Among other reasons, there are the following:(1) Because they have embraced Him in the covenant, for their all, in opposition to the world, and all that is therein; which shows a nobleness of spirit in them, the certain product of His own Spirit.
(2) Because they quit the world's certainty for Divine hope, and trust Him for an unseen portion to themselves, as preferable to all that the world can afford, believing He will glorify His all-sufficiency and His faithfulness in the promise, laying all their weight upon them (Romans 4:20, 21).
(3) Because they can take up with nothing less than a God for their portion, by which they discover a peculiar elevation of spirit, the effect of Divine grace (Philippians 3:8).
(4) Because, in their way and walk, they are of a character distinguished from the men of the world (Philippians 3:18-21). They dare not take the way of the world, their souls hate it, as being opposite to the manners of the country to which they are going.
3. Improve this point. Hence, see —
(1) That carnal worldlings are none of those whose God the Lord is (Matthew 6:24).
(2) That such as having weighed all things, have forsaken the world for God, and fixed their desires on Him and the better world, intent to be there whatever their lot in this world be; and to enjoy God in Christ as their God and portion, however small their portion be of this world's good things; they may be sure God is their God, and He will own it, though, by reason of the weakness of their faith, they have much ado to plead it.
(3) That God is worthy to be chosen for our God in covenant; and therefore I exhort you to make choice of Him for your all, and give up with the world henceforth, that ye may be pilgrims and strangers in it. Doctrine
II. THAT WHATEVER HARDSHIPS HIS PEOPLE MAY SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE, HE IS NOT ASHAMED ON HIS PART TO BE CALLED THEIR GOD, HAVING PREPARED FOR THEM THE HEAVENLY CITY, WHICH WILL MAKE UP ALL LOSSES.
1. To show in what respects the heavenly city is prepared for the pilgrims who have forsaken this world for God, looking for a better.
(1) In respect of eternal destination in the decree of election before the world was made (Matthew 25:34).
(2) In respect of purchase, by the sufferings and death of Christ. It is therefore called the purchased possession (Ephesians 1:13).
(3) In respect of possession taken of it already in their name, by our Lord Jesus entering into it, as a public person, at His ascension (Hebrews 6:20).
(4) In respect of readiness to receive them in their own persons.
2. To give the reasons of the point —
(I) Because the happiness of the city, if they were once come there, will more than balance all the hardships in their pilgrimage that they had to undergo for His sake. Why should He be ashamed to be called their God, be their lot in the world as bad as it can be? The glory of the city will more than balance all the contempt, reproach, &c.
(2) Because they are not far from the city. They will soon be there (Psalm 90:10).
(3) Because in the meantime there is a communication betwixt them and this city, so that the whole of what they need may come from it.
(4) Because the very faith and hope, which they entertain as to this city, is sufficient to support them under all their hardships (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).
3. To improve this point. It serves —
(1) To pour shame on the wisdom and way of the world. And this —
(a) In that they reckon it wisdom not to quit a seen advantage for an unseen one, certainty (as they call it) for hope (Psalm 4:6).
(b) In that they are ready to be ashamed of God's people, because of the hardships they are laid under in their pilgrimage through the world. This their way is their folly; for whatever their lot be God is not their God and portion.
(2) Serves to instruct in several duties, those who profess to be pilgrims in the world, and to have taken God for their God, looking for a better world. Such as —
(a) Be not ashamed of Him, to be called His people (Mark 8:38).
(b) Be not ye a shame and dishonour to Him, by your cleaving to the world, and the way of the world (Romans 2:24).
(c) Do not decline the hardest piece of the doing-work of religion for Him. Engage in the whole without exception. Have respect to all His commandments (Psalm 119:6).
(d) Shift not the Cross of Christ, but be ready to suffer for Him as He may call you (2 Timothy 2:12).
(e) Walk like the expectants of heaven, citizens of the city above prepared for you by your God. This city will far more than compensate for your sufferings, for all the difficult and hard steps ye may have in your way thither.
(f) Spend the time of your sojourning in making ready, and preparing for that city which the Lord has prepared for His people.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.