Father God gave the first couple a beautiful paradise of a garden for their home. But they sinned against God and things changed drastically. The earth was cursed for man’s sake, thus revealing the ages-long truth that we never sin alone. Multiplied pain in childbirth, toiling, sweat-of-the-brow work in order to eat, thorns and weeds springing up from the ground everywhere were results of the entrance of human sin into the world. But key in our understanding of the damage sin brought is the loss of “home.” The original couple had to leave their home. Had they turned back and tried to re-enter they would have been met by the powerful cherubim and the flaming sword preventing their return. Now they are homeless wanderers in the earth.
When Cain, in jealous anger, murdered his brother, his punishment was to be driven from home to become a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. There was to be no “rest” for him. He declared his punishment to be more than he could bear. But bear it, he did.
In arrogance and rebellion against God the people of the earth determined to make a home…a name…a place for themselves. They began building their tower. But all who build without God discover, sooner or later, that they build in vain. God confuses their language and they are forced to go off in groups who could understand each other to wander, homeless still, across the face of the earth.
In one sense the story of the Bible is about people looking for a home…land…a place to belong…rest. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob didn’t find it, but confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Israel wandered for forty years under Moses and away from home. Joshua took them into the promised land, but there was still a “rest” remaining for the children of God. Jesus came to bring us into the true “rest” God intended for His people. And in Him we find rest for our souls, a place to belong, acceptance, peace, purpose and fellowship.
You remember the movie, E.T. (for extra-terrestrial)? The weird-looking little alien was discovered by the lad in the cornfield behind his house. He cared for the visitor…protected him and came to love him and found his heart was all wrapped up in his. The boy wants to know where ET is from. He explains that he is from earth, as he shows a model of planet earth. ET causes some spheres to arise in thin air which depict the galaxy he comes from. Then he waddles over to the window and points to the night sky with a long, bony finger and says in that mournful, squeaky tone, “Home!” He knew the boy loved him. He knew he loved the boy. But none of this could quench his longing for home.
You and I have been created for a purpose. Ultimately, we belong somewhere else, don’t we? And it’s fine and right to love and be loved here…to serve…to help…to worship. But we are not home yet. And every once in a while…there’s a feeling of homesickness that…well…I think you know what I mean…”Beloved, now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.”