Strangers in the Earth
The Preacher's Monthly
Genesis 23:4
I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burial plot with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

I. THE EXHORTATION. A true Christian's life should be that of a stranger and a sojourner.

1. Such persons are at once recognized. Marks of nationality may be more or less prominent. Sometimes the foreigner wears a strange costume, and speaks a strange language; and sometimes these things are studiously avoided; he assumes our dress, converses in our dialect; nevertheless, there is always something about him which bespeaks "the sojourner." And so should it be with the Christian.

2. These peculiarities will be observable in all the common business of life. Not, indeed, in any disregard of useful industries and occupations. A wise foreigner, passing through a strange country, will make the best use of his time, mingling with its inhabitants, studying its institutions, observing its manners and customs, examining minutely its improvements in science and art, perhaps investing largely in its agricultural implements, and mechanical machinery, and scientific apparatus, and many of its products and fabrics, ornamental and useful. He may for the time appear, more even than native citizens, attentive to and engrossed by such matters; nevertheless, every man who deals with him perceives that his interest in them is that of a sojourner, who examines and purchases with a view to some use or enjoyment in his own distant land. Just so should it be with the Christian.

3. These marks of a foreigner will be manifest in all the pleasures of life.

4. A foreigner may be known by the opinions he forms and expresses of all things that surround him. Many such things, which to us, through custom and familiarity, seem proper and consistent and natural, will often strike him strangely. This point is finely illustrated in Oliver Goldsmith's " Citizen of the World."

II. As A CONSOLATION. If we are "strangers and sojourners on earth," then —

1. Our better portion and grander heritage and home are in heaven. Like the patriarchs, we should "look for a city whose maker is God!" and, like the apostles, should rejoice to think that presently we shall be "absent from the body and present with the Lord."

2. Strangers and foreigners think ever and most tenderly of their distant native lands. Of the dear doors that will open, and the loved voices that will welcome them, when, having accomplished the ends of their brief sojourn in those stranger-scenes, they cross the ocean, and cast anchor in distant harbours, and go ashore to their own cities. And herein they should be our models. Good as Christian life may be on the earth, yet there are better things in heaven.

(The Preacher's Monthly.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

WEB: "I am a stranger and a foreigner living with you. Give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight."

The Purchased Grave
Top of Page
Top of Page