16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
16 But now
The word “now” means as the situation presently stands.
they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.
The patriarchs sought something better than the temporal presence of earthly values. They sought something transcendent that was imperishable.
Because Abraham and his family believed in God’s promises, a divine result followed.
God is not ashamed to be called their God,
God was not ashamed to identify Himself with the patriarchs. In Hebrews 2:11, Jesus was not ashamed to call those who believe in Him “brothers.” Now God is glad to call believers “their God,” the God that they possess as their own. This identification is an allusion to the New Covenant (Jer 31:33).
for He has prepared a city for them.
God prepared a city for those who believe His promises. Jesus did this as well (Jn 14:1-3). Both the Father and Son work toward this end.
God honors those who honor Him.
Believers look forward to their eternal homeland (Ps 27:4; Job 19:25-26). The material was not all-important to them. They sought something “better” than things on earth. They were willing to forsake social status and embrace social ostracism for something better. They wanted fellowship with God and for Him to call them His own. There is a point where we must rebuke materialism.
God is not ashamed to be identified with us. He honors those who believe His promises (1 Sa 2:30). We could never receive a greater honor than to be honored by God.
God has prepared many things for the believer of which the Christian knows nothing about (1 Co 2:9).
The willingness of the patriarchs to leave prosperity to go where God directed was the reason God wanted to identify with them.