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Wanderer Or Pilgrim?

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When we think of wandering, a number of things come to mind. For instance, our minds are at times inclined to wander even when someone is speaking. As Montaigne has said,

It is a thorny undertaking , and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as our mind, to penetrate the opaque depths of its innermost folds, to pick out `and immobilize the innumerable flutterings that agitate it.1

Each of us may recall those more pleasant times when we wandered in the countryside admiring its peaceful beauty, or in lovely forests, or among the mountains, or along the seashore. Sometimes one’s wandering can take him or her through shopping malls, visiting historic places, or even ghost towns. The idea of wandering at times appears in songs, such as “I’m wandering around in circles, getting nowhere,” or “A Wandering Minstrel, I” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” It even appears in some hymns, for example,

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus, the Savior, did come for to die.
For poor, ornery people like you and like I—
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.2

Indeed, too often those who have been exposed to Christian beliefs fail to appreciate them fully, but like gypsies, who wander from place to place, wander their lives away. As Matthew Arnold observed,

Thou waitest for the spark from heaven: and we,
Light half-believers of our casual creeds,
Who never deeply felt, nor clearly willed…
Who hesitate and falter life away,
And lose tomorrow the ground won today—
Ah! do not we wanderer! await it too? 3

In what follows, we shall give attention to some examples of wandering as recorded in the Scriptures. Our study will also bring to our attention spiritual wandering as well as the theme of pilgrimage. We shall close with applications to the Christians walk as well as the believer’s ultimate goal in life.

Examples of Wandering in the Early Old Testament Accounts

Israel’s exodus from Egypt has engaged the hearts and minds of people for hundreds, even thousands, of years. In turn, it served as a precedent for a literary motif of a new exodus, which remained in the future. “Such promises are realized in Jesus of Nazareth,”4 and culminate in the glorious complete redemptive experience of mankind. Yes, the exodus serves as a testimony to the great delivering work of God and of Moses role in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and leading them to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants.

Unfortunately, Israel’s journey to the Promised Land proved to be one of many difficulties—mostly of the peoples’ own making. These led to God’s people having a prolonged period of wandering for forty years. The Scriptures refer to this epic journey as a period of wilderness wandering, which was caused by the infidelity of the people. Rather than being grateful (cf. Duet. 2:7) and trusting fully in the Lord, they proved to be not only unfaithful but unhappy and even rebellious at times. Therefore, toward the end of their journey Moses admonished and advised the Gadites and Reubenites to be sensitive to cooperating fully with the needs of all the other tribes by citing the Lord’s own declaration that, “Because they have not followed me whole heartedly” (except for Caleb and Joshua), “Not one of them from twenty years old and upward who came out from Egypt will see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Num. 32: 11-12).5

Accordingly, Moses goes on to remind the Gadites and Reubenites that, “The LORD’s anger was kindled against the Israelites, and he made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all that generation that had done wickedly before the LORD was finished” (Num. 32:13; cf. Ps. 95:10-11; Heb. 3:9-11). Therefore, they should not be the cause for re-igniting the Lord’s judgment of his people (vv. 14-15). Our interest in citing this episode is to stress the fact that Israel’s prior wandering was a result of God’s judgment. As the writer of Hebrews points out, God’s judgment happened as the result of Israel’s disobedience and unbelief (Heb. 3: 17-19).

Therefore, we see that lack of faithfulness to God and his standards can result in the Lord’s chastisement. Nor were the Israelites of the exodus period the first to learn this. Indeed personal straying from the Lord can lead to disastrous consequences. Already at the beginning of earth’s history it was a lesson that Cain experienced. Because he had slain his brother Abel, the Lord sentenced him to perpetual banishment from his homeland -- the land of God’s distinct presence (Gen. 4:9-12a). Moreover, the Lord told Cain, “You will be a homeless wanderer on the earth” (v. 12b). Although Cain’s life was spared, because of his sin, “Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (v.16).

In passing, we should note that in the account of the Lord’s sentence of judgment against Cain, there are some interesting plays on words in the original text. As Mathews points out, “Scripture does not speak again of “Nod,” and no specific locale is known. It may be that Nod is simply meant to say that wherever Cain sojourned could be called the, ‘land of the Wanderer.’”6

Thus the NET, “homeless wanderer” (v. 12) is a compound phrase, which indicates Cain’s being both a fugitive and a perpetual wanderer. Perhaps it is as Hamilton suggests, “In some ways, it is a fate worse than death. It is to lose all sense of belonging and identification with a community. It is to become footless and detached…Cain, once a farmer, is now ousted from civilization and is to become a vagabond.”7 Moreover, the land known as Nod (v.16) is a play on the word “wanderer” (v. 12).

God’s judgment is thus associated with the thought and image of wandering away from God’s presence and a rewarding life. As Job explains, this is also further proof that the Lord is in control of all things and expects people to live in accordance with his will and standards (Job 12:12-23). Further, no one can be certain of escaping God’s judgment. This includes even those living at the highest levels society:

He deprives the leaders of the earth
of their understanding;
he makes them wander
in a trackless, desert waste. (Job 12:24)

Job goes on to add that whatever light they may once have enjoyed as provided by God, “they now grope about only in darkness without light; he makes them stagger like drunkards” (v. 25; cf. Isa. 51:17-18).

Examples of Wandering in the Prophetic Writings

In commenting on the future fall of Babylon, Isaiah warns that not even Babylon’s esteemed religious leaders (Isa. 47:9-13) prevent its collapse:

Look, they are like straw,
which the fire burns up;
they cannot rescue themselves from the flames.
There are no coals to warm them,
no firelight to enjoy.
They will disappoint you,
those you have so faithfully dealt with
since your youth.
Each strays off (wanders, HCSB) in his own direction,
leaving no one to rescue you. (Isa. 47:14-15)

The NET footnote (#22) correctly points out that these “omen readers and star gazers are likened to merchants with whom Babylon has had an ongoing economic relationship.” As Smith remarks,

The consequences of trusting in astrology and magical spells will result in these officials being like dry stubble that fire can quickly consume…. In fact, God says that these religious officials will not even be able to deliver themselves, so why should the Babylonian people ever expect them to protect the rest of the nation from the destructive flames that God will send to devour them?8

By way of application Oswalt observes, “Everybody needs a savior; the gods and the magical worldview on which they rest cannot save; the Lord who stands outside the cosmos and directs it according to his good purposes can save; which shall we choose?”9 All of this provides a caution to today’s religious leaders, for too often they make merchandise of their position. The ministry is not for fame or profit or simply to satisfy one’s own ambitions or desires! True ministry is based on God’s distinctive call to steward the Word of God faithfully, to do his will, to spread the gospel message, and to be of genuine help to a needy mankind both spiritually and in accordance with the need. Indeed, Jesus, who himself was a living example, declared, “I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me” (John 6:38). Moreover, as Paul advised Timothy, “Set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity….Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have” (1 Tim 4:12, 14). Let us not wander alone by ourselves but live in conformity with the will of God, being mindful of his prior claim on us and his presence with us.

Jeremiah records an apparent confession of sin and subsequent lament by God’s people in Judah as they dealt with an existing draught brought on by God’s judgment (Jer. 14:1-9). Strangely missing after the peoples’ confession of sin and cry for help is a word of consolation from the Lord. The expected sequel to such a lament is a salvation oracle, but the people receive only confirmation of the Lord’s intent to punish them.10 Quite the opposite, the Lord reminds the people of their straying from him:

This is what the Lord says concerning these people:
They love to wander;
they never rest their feet.
So the LORD does not accept them.
Now he will remember their guilt
and punish their sins. (Jer. 14:10, HCSB)

The Lord’s answer to the people is only too proper in this case, for the people’s confession has been one of mere ritual and self interest and not from sincerity. As Dyer explains.

God knew that their confession was only superficial. They claimed God as their Lord, but they refused to restrain their feet from following evil. Because of their continuing bent toward sin, God said he would not accept their superficial confession. Instead, he would punish them for their sins.11

In addition, the people have willingly listened to the deceptive lies of their so-called prophets. Therefore, they are deserving of God’s coming judgment (vv. 13-18). An interesting sidelight is suggested by Laetsch who envisions the Lord’s reply as follows: “In the manner of a human speaker He waves his hand back and forth in order to characterize the wanderings of his people from one idol to another.”12Indeed, sinful wandering without returning to God is deserving of his chastisement.

The book of Lamentations has through long tradition been ascribed to Jeremianic authorship. It is certainly a strong possibility granted the fact that Jeremiah witnessed the fall of Jerusalem and was allowed by his captors to remain in the land (Jer. 40:1-6). There he remained until being forced by one Johanan ben Kareah to go to Egypt (Jer. 44:1-7). Because Jeremiah had seen all that had come to pass with the fall of Jerusalem and the subsequent events (Jer. 39-44), the words of Lamentations 3:19-22 are most graphic and sensitively appropriate:

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet I call this to mind
and therefore have hope;
because of the LORD’s great love,
we are not consumed,
for his compassions are new every morning.

As Huey says, “At the moment of his deepest despair and as he recalled his bitter affliction, a remarkable transition in his attitude took place. His hopelessness expressed in vv. 18-20 turned to hope as he remembered the Lord. …The basis for renewed hope is God’s “great love.’”13

False leadership that leads to God’s judgment is pronounced by Hosea. Not only the false leaders but also the people’s selfishness that led to infidelity is decried. A stinging example is Israel’s behavior at Gilgal:

Because of all their evil in Gilgal,
I hate them there.
On account of their evil deeds,
I will drive them out of my land;
all their rulers are rebels. (Hos. 4:15)

Gilgal served as a reminder of God’s displeasure over his people’s infidelity, for it was at Gilgal that the people asked for a king of their own choosing, rather than God’s (1 Sam 8: 4-22; cf. 1 Sam. 11:14-15). Not only that but, “It was there that Saul personally disobeyed the instructions of Samuel, the Lord’s prophet (1 Sam 15: 10-29). Gilgal also had become a cult center for pagan religion (cf. Hos. 12:11).14 Hosea goes on to say that because of their sinfulness,

My God will reject them
For they have not obeyed him;
So they will be fugitives (or “wanderers”) among the nations. (Hos. 9:15)

Thus, “Because God’s people have rejected the Lord’s rightful sovereignty over them and disobeyed Him both in their worship services and the covenantal standard of conduct, they must suffer judgment in the form of going into exile as captives of the enemy.”15 Indeed, there is a lesson for all of us here,

If, then, God so punished the apostasy of His own elect nation, what guarantee of impunity can any Christian nation, or any individual professors, have, that they will escape the wrath of God, if they fail to bring forth fruits consonant to their high calling?16 (Rom. X1, 19, 21).

A graphic portrayal of God’s judgment of his people is also given by the prophet Zechariah, who points out that both false leaders and false diviners bring about God’s judgment of wandering:

The household gods have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers, they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered (NLT, “are wandering”; cf. NIV, “wander”) because they have no shepherd. (Zech. 10:2-3)

Zechariah denounces both civil and religious leaders, for they had been instrumental in Israel’s demise and the people’s wandering like lost sheep without a shepherd. As Hill points out,

The story of the Hebrew monarchies is one of failed leadership, a result of the rejection of God’s rule over the Israelites (cf. 1Sam. 8:7)... In large measure Zechariah echoed the laments of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel who decried the plight of a people scattered like lost sheep without a shepherd—victims of shepherds who fed themselves instead of their flocks (cf. Jer 50:6-7; Ezek 34:1-6).17

On the other hand, Zechariah points out that there is still hope for Go’s people. He who controls the clouds so as to bring the rain that enables the crops to flourish will indeed judge the leaders, but will then bless his people through a new leadership (cf. vv. 1, 3b-7). As Merrill observes, “Things have been bleak, indeed, as the whole history of Israel and Judah could attest, but there was hope now in light of the restoration from exile and particularly in light of God’s gracious promises concerning the age to come.”18 Moreover, the Lord will restore his people to their land (vv. 8-12). As Barker suggests,

The reason for their restoration is God’s tender compassion. The reason for their not continuing in a state of rejection is that the Lord (Yahweh) is their covenantal God, bound to his people in a covenantal relationship (cf. Rom 11). God’s promise to answer them implies that they will pray to him for deliverance.19

Surely there was more yet to come-–even better things—as Zechariah would go on to expound in later chapters (cf. chs. 13-14). God’s people will be permanently at home—no more constrained to live as wanderers.

The above writings taken from the prophets reflect the concept and reality of wandering as due often to God’s judgment. These prophetic pronouncements reinforce the examples given in connection with those events cited in the earlier scriptural accounts. Indeed, the Lord’s chastisement is certain where evil and unreliable civil and religious leaders encourage the people to a resultant selfish lifestyle and whose fidelity to the Lord then becomes mere display rather than real. Can such a people really expect some divine gift or help?

Thou waitest for the spark from Heaven: and we,
Light half-believers of our casual creeds,
Who never deeply felt, nor clearly willed…
Who hesitate and falter life away,
And lose tomorrow the ground won today—
Ah! Do not we, Wanderer! await it too?20

The combined force of these texts recorded in God’s Holy Scriptures, which we have cited should provide a distinct warning to today’s believers. The person, people, or nation that wanders away from the Lord and his righteous standards can expect to be sentenced to an even greater wandering—that of being alienated by the Lord to a fruitless life lived within the realm of God’s judgment, which could indeed be severe.

Examples of Wandering in the Poetic Books

In the great familiar acrostic Psalm 119, the Psalmist declares God’s displeasure with those who wander from his revealed standards:

You despise all who stray (cf. NASB, “wander”) from your statutes,
for they are deceptive and unreliable. (Ps. 119:118)

Those who do so are described as completely untrustworthy, if not deceitful (see NET text note). It is small wonder, then, that they will be objects of God’s judgment.

In one of the proverbs attributed to Solomon we learn that he who wanders from wisdom is in critical danger --even death itself:

The one who wanders from the way of wisdom
will end up in the company of the departed. (Prov. 21:16)

Although the word rendered “wisdom” can also mean “common sense” or “prudence, doubtless the emphasis is on that which Solomon has stressed: true spiritual wisdom. Thus Waltke correctly comments, “As every motion has an end, so every journey has a goal (cf. 2 Pet. 2:21).”21 We see, then, that the Scriptures use wandering to portray:

deviating from God’s standards of truth and morality...Thus we find references to wandering from God’s commandments (Ps 119:10, 21) and straying like lost sheep (Ps 119:176; Is 53:6; 1 Pet 2:25). Wandering is also used to picture deviation from faith (1 Tim 6:10), from light (John 8:12), from the Lord (1 Sam 12:20-21; Deut 29:38), and from the path of life available to those who follow wisdom (Prov 5:6). 22

Paul declares that the unrighteous persons who choose to think themselves wise by following earthly goals and standards rather than those of the Lord are destined for great difficulty. Thus he encourages Timothy,

For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people on reaching for it have strayed (NASB, “wandered”) from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance and patience. (1 Tim. 6:10-11).

Indeed, those who choose to follow selfish desires can all too easily fall prey to Satan’s seductions (cf. Gen. 3:1-6; I Pet 5:8-9).

True, balanced thinking is recorded in Psalm 107, a Psalm that inaugurates the last section of the Psalter (Pss. 107-150). On the one hand, the psalmist points out that those who become proud in their station of life, which they see as self-attainment rather than through the blessing of God, are destined via God’s judgment to be dislodged from that station. Indeed, many who think that way have already experienced the Lord’s judgment for:

He would pour contempt upon princes,
and he made them wander in a wasteland
with no road. (Ps. 107:40)

On the other hand, those who find themselves wandering in a seemingly hopeless situation and so cry unto God in genuine sincerity find a life of true spiritual satisfaction. Thus the psalmist tells of those who experienced God’s deliverance from the enemy and restoration to the land:

They wandered through the
wilderness on a desert road;
they found no city in which to live.
They were hungry and thirsty;
they fainted from exhaustion.
They cried out to the LORD in their distress;
he delivered them from their troubles. (Ps. 107: 4-6; cf. vv. 6, 13, 19, 28)

Whatever historical event the psalmist may have had in mind, it is not inappropriate to apply it to one’s own life situation. After suggesting that these words could well have applied to the Israelites during the Babylonian captivity, Leupold remarks, “If any individuals now use this passage after an experience of being lost in the wilderness and find it an apt summary of their experience and follow the summons to praise God for what He did for them, that is certainly not an abuse of the passage.”23 Perowne suggests, “So it ever is: only the pressure of a great need forces men to seek God. Prayer is not only the resource of good men, but of all men in trouble.”24 The hymn writer expresses a similar thought;

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.25

It should be pointed out in passing that man as born in sin is already a spiritual wanderer until he responds positively to the Lord’s offer and conditions of salvation. By God’s grace it is possible to leave self-centeredness and spiritual wandering so as to live in a realm of full satisfaction and commitment to the Lord. Such is like wandering out of darkness into light—out of spiritual darkness into the light of true living. Thus the hymn writer declares,

I wandered in the shades of night, till Jesus came to me,
And with the sunlight of His love bid all my darkness flee.
While walking in the light of God, I sweet communion find;
I press with holy vigor on, and leave the world behind.
Soon I shall see Him as He is, the light that came to me,
Behold the brightness of His face, thro’out eternity. 26

Thus we see that although wandering so often conveys a negative message, yet it can at times be used in a context with a very positive result.

Wandering vs. Pilgrimage

In Psalm 119 the psalmist points out that as he lives out his time on earth he has been careful to follow the standards of God’s precepts and so enjoy his life fully.

Your statutes have been my songs
in the house where I live.
I remember your name during the night, O LORD,
and I will keep your law.
This has been my practice,
for I observe your precepts. (Ps. 119:54-56)

As VanGemeren observes, “Difficult as life may be, the suffering sing, even at night. This lifestyle does not develop overnight but comes from habitual practice. The psalmist guarded carefully the “precepts” … of God, because in them he found life, restoration and comfort .”27 Indeed, The writer has kept the Lord’s precepts, for “These precepts were not burdensome or hard but rather a blessing that has fallen to his lot.”28 A bit earlier in this psalm the psalmist declared that he is “a stranger on earth” and begs the Lord not to “hide your commands from me” (Ps. 119:19, HCSB). He is indeed so consumed with love for God and his standards that he feels out of place in this world; his citizenship and devotion are heavenly, not earthly.

One is reminded of the words of the author of Hebrews who points out that the faithful believers in Abraham’s day and slightly afterward, “All died in faith without receiving the things promised but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on earth . For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland” (Heb 11:13-14). He goes on to explain that those live who in such a way have as their true wish a heavenly home: “They aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (v.16; cf. John14:1-3). Like the author’s audience, today’s believers can take heart.

Like them the author is saying, we are “foreigners and nomads here on earth”… and like them, we are “Looking for a better place, a Heavenly homeland” (11:16). When he concludes that “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (11:15), the audience is able to substitute “us”: God is not ashamed to be called our God, for he has prepared a city for us (see 13:14). 29

As Perowne remarks, “Those who put their trust in God receive a full reward, and that reward must belong not to this transient world-order but to the enduring one which participates in the life of God.”30Accordingly, the author of Hebrews could declare that Christian believers should “Get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2a).

Likewise, Paul declared that he had not yet attained perfection but remembering that Christ had placed a ministry and reward before him, he forgets any past achievement he may have attained (Phil 3:14-15a) and, “reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:15b-16). Comfort suggests, “Paul was saying he had answered God’s call to pursue Christ. The goal of that pursuit is to know Christ fully, and the prize is to come into the full reality of that knowledge—a reality that will not come into being until the eschaton.”31 Interestingly, Paul sets his remarks in the midst of a context that depicts his ministry for Christ in terms of an athletic contest. As runners prepare diligently and strive to compete successfully in a race, so Paul presses on in accordance with his divine call to ministry with his every desire and effort toward the future goal of a heavenly prize. As earthly runners received their prize at the end of the race from the officials, so Paul envisioned his obtaining his heavenly reward (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6-8a).32

In a sense, then, the believer’s life is at its very heart a pilgrimage. Life on this present earth is not its final goal. In a manner such as Old Testament believers went joyfully on their pilgrimage to worship the Lord at festal seasons (cf. Ps 84:5), so in the final analysis all of the Christian’s life is lived as a pilgrim bound for that everlasting joy of worshiping the Lord in the heavenly and final eternity.

To be sure, the Christians’ pilgrimage, while often beset with difficulties, can none-the-less be productive and filled with an assurance that God is with them and the best is yet to come. As John Bunyan wrote,

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit;
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men may say;
He’ll labour night and day.33

The hymn writer may well have captured the spirit of being a pilgrim in saying,

This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.34

Application

By way of summary and application of the basic content of the above texts and remarks dealing with wandering, we believers must neither wander from the presence of God nor his standards. In fact, to do so invites his righteous response in judgment. Therefore, if we are tempted to do so, let us be prompt and earnest in seeking the help of our gracious, compassionate, and loving God (cf. Ps.103:1-18). For he will transform our desires into even better ones—those that are in harmony with those which God deems are best for us. Moreover, to begin wandering could lead to further wandering and take us farther away from God and his blessings. Still further, this could lead to even more severe chastisement. A viscous cycle, indeed!

Rather than wandering from God and following one’s own selfish, worldly desires, believers should keep in mind that this earth is not their true home and final destination. Ours is a pilgrim journey as we live in this present world. Therefore, as Peter admonishes his readers,

Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles (HCSB, “temporary residents”) to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears. (1Pet. 2:11-12)

Believers therefore should remember and honor the fact that as pilgrims in this present world they really should put away selfish lusts and desires, which only cause their condition to deteriorate further. As Osborne advises, “We…can trust our lives to our Creator, but we are also at war with our ‘worldly desires.’ Every part of one’s life is involved—the physical and spiritual, the internal and external—when one gives in to sinful behavior. Satan is waging war against us.” 35 English observes further,

The world and worldly influences all about us today correspond with the Gentiles of the Epistle, and we are to see that our conduct in the world is honest. It is not honorable, for example, for those of us who are united with Christ by virtue of His atoning sacrifice, to have fellowship with Christ rejecting men and women. Yes, contact, but not fellowship. ... Our contact…must be used to win them to the Savior, and not for fellowship.36

In so doing, then, let us also be concerned for those who wander spiritually. As the hymn writer says,

Seeking the lost, yes, kindly entreating
Wanderers on the mountain astray;
“Come unto me” His message37 repeating,
Words of the Master speaking today.
Seeking the lost, and pointing to Jesus,
Souls that are weak and hearts that are sore;
Leading them forth in ways of salvation,
Showing the path to life evermore.

If they will respond properly they, too, may come to know the Lord and live so completely for him that at God’s final judgment they will glorify him in worship. Otherwise they face everlasting judgment. As Osborne observes, “The opponents will either find Christ and glorify God on judgment day in worship, or they will continue to reject him and ‘glorify God’ via forced submission at the final judgment, admitting only then that the Christians were right all along.”38

In sum, let us so live lives that are surrendered to the indwelling Christ. As pilgrims in this present world, let us abandon self-centeredness and personal wandering, and bask in the full light of God’s abundant grace. May we be careful to keep his standards and be living testimonies as his redeemed people, glorifying the Lord and experiencing the blessings of his presence and his guidance. May the words of the hymn writer resound in our hearts:

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle, if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway, if Thou wilt be my guide.39


1 Michel Eyquem Montaigne, “Essays,’ in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, eds., John Bartlett and Justin Kaplan (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 16th ed. 1992), 145. 

2 An Appalachian carol, collected by John Jacob Niles, “I Wonder as I Wander.”

3 Matthew Arnold, “The Scholar Gypsy,” in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, op cit., 498.

4 Richard D. Patterson and Michael Travers, “Contours of the Exodus Motif in Jesus’ Earthly Ministry,” The Westminster Theological Journal, 66 (2004), 47.

5 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are cited from the NET.

6 Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, The New American Commentary, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996), 278-79. 1985), See also, A. Cohen, The Soncino Chumash (Jerusalem. The Soncino Press), 19. See also, Elmer A. Martens, “nwd,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem A. VanGemeren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997, 5 vols.) 3:53.

7 Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 232.

8 Gary V, Smith, Isaiah 40-66, The New American Commentary, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2009), 310.  

9 John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah Chapters 40-66, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 256.

10 Elmer A. Martens, “Jeremiah & Lamentations,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale House, 2005, 18 vols.) 8:383.

11 Charles H. Dyer, “Jeremiah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Scripture Press, 1985) 1147-48.

12 Theo. Laetsch, Bible Commentary Jeremiah (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1965), 145.

13 F. B. Huey, Jeremiah Lamentations, The New American Commentary, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1993), 472.

14 Richard D. Patterson, Hosea (Richardson, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 2009), 90.

15 Ibid., 91.

16 A. R. Fausett, “Jeremiah-Malachi,” in Robert J. Jamieson, A. R. Fausett, and David Brown, A Commentary Critical, Experimental and Practical on the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948, 6 vols.) 4:492.

17 Andrew E. Hill, “Zechariah,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale House, 2008, 18vols.)10: 581.

18 Eugene H. Merrill, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 268.

19 Kenneth L. Barker, “Zechariah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008, rev. ed. 13 vols.) 8:803.

20 Matthew Arnold, “The Scholar Gypsy” as cited in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 498.

21 Bruce K. Waltke, Proverbs 15-21 in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 180.

22 “Wanderer, Wandering,” in Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, eds. Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 926.

23 H. C. Leupold, The Psalms (Grand Rapids; Baker Book House, 1969), 757.

24 J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, 2 vols. in one) 2: 276. Indeed, the major thrust of this psalm testifies to God’s willingness to come to the aid of those who call to him for help.

25 William J. Kirkpatrick, “Lord, I’m Coming Home.”

26 J. W. Van DeVenter, “Sunlight.”

27 Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Biblical Commentary (rev. ed. 2008) 5:869.

28 H. C. Leupold, The Psalms, 835.

29 J Ramsey Michaels, “Hebrews” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol stream, Il: Tyndale House, 2009; 18 vols.) 13:437.

30 F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 305-6.

31 Philip W. Comfort, “Philippians,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale House, 2008; 18 vols.) 16: 206.

32 See further, Richard D. Patterson, “Christians as Athletes,” Biblical Studies Press, 2013.

33 John Bunyan, “The Pilgrim,” (v, 3) as cited in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1948), 377.

34 Mary Reeves Davis, “This World Is Not My Home.”

35 Grant R. Osborne, “1-2 Peter,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il, Tyndale House, 2011; 18 vols.) 18:189.

36 E. Schuyler English, The Life and Letters of Saint Peter (New York: Publication Office “Our Hope,” 1941), 182-83.

37 W. A. Odgen, “Seeking the Lost.”

38 Osborne, “1-2 Peter,” op. cit., 190.

39 John F. Bode, “O Jesus, I Have Promised.”

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