Those folks also understood that here and now is not what matters, it is only a temporary stop on a journey to the Eternal.
Abraham and Sarah certainly understood that despite their relative wealth in their day and time, it was nothing to compare with what God had in store for them, even far beyond the Promised Land they wandered in. They died in faith, not having received the promises but having greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on this earth, Heb 11:13.
And Moses, who could had the wealth of Egypt at his disposal, [chose] rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, accounting the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, Heb 11:25,26. The “reproaches of Christ?” But he was an Old Testament character! Of course he was, but he still “got it” better than many of us on this side of Malachi.
Even Hannah, a humble woman of Ephraim, was able to recognize in her song of thanksgiving in 1 Samuel 2, Jehovah makes poor and he makes rich, he brings low and he lifts up, he raises up the poor out of the dust, he lifts up the needy from the dunghill and makes them sit with princes and inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah’s and he has set the world upon them…not by his [own] might shall a man prevail. Hannah knew that the circumstances of this life were not what counted—her God was in control and He would reward her.
We could go on and on. Ruth, who left home, family, familiar customs and language—her comfort zone, we might say today-- to go to a place where she had nothing to expect but a life of poverty and loneliness, not only as a widow, but also as an alien among God’s people. Forget for a moment what actually happened to her. She expected nothing but a hard life. Yet she thought that being able to worship and serve this Jehovah she had learned of with the people He had chosen, was worth giving up any chance at an easier life in her native land. She knew that it was not that physical land that mattered.
So what about us “enlightened” folks? Are we willing to give up anything and everything in this world, willing to endure anything and everything, willing to be different, to think differently, to act differently from everyone else no matter how uncomfortable that may make us, because we understand the importance of the Eternal, or do the tangible things of life tether us to this side of Eternity? To which side of life are you tied today?
In this we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up in life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God…So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil, 2 Cor 5:2, 4-10.