Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 11

I love writing about what God has accomplished simply through acts of faith, and there is no better chapter in the Bible for covering that except for chapter 11 of Hebrews. The author wastes little time in stating the importance of faith by showing us right in the beginning exactly what faith means.

"1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for." – Hebrews 11:1-2

Over the next several verses we see the role that faith has played from creation up through almost all of the Old Testament. The illustration here shows that ordinary people accomplished extraordinary feats without even knowing at times what was going to happen. It took an incredible amount of faith for Noah to obey God and build an ark when some believe it had never rained on the face of the earth. The faith of Abraham could be written on thousands of pages, as he is the perfect example of someone who lived by faith. Three things in his life stand out as tests that most normal people would struggle with, as he was asked to move to an unknown land despite his prosperity, have a son despite the barren nature of his wife, then sacrifice that son based on what God asked of him. Personally, if God asked of me these things I would initally be like, "uh… excuse me?"

"13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." – Hebrews 11:13-16

Sometimes that is the way we must live in faith. We see what is promised for us and though it is well off in the distance we must welcome them and look forward to them. Our heavenly reward in Christ is like this, because it is a mystery we will not know until we leave this earth. Other things may be promised during our time here, but we see them as far off and still must live in faith until they are realized. Sometimes it is the test of faith that proves us worthy of the reward. Personally, I have been tested more times than I care to recount over the past two and a half years, as it has been that long since I have had a permanent full-time job. I have worked dozens of places but nothing has ever panned out to be permanent. Naturally, it has been very frustrating but at the same time it has been a trial that has allowed God to teach me so much about myself. Through each trial I have never once doubted God's love for me and He has shown me that I can rely on Him and only Him because each trial is an example of His love. He does not want me to be stagnant because life is easy. He wants to promote growth through trials and faith because He has big plans for me.

This is what living in faith truly means, because we have to learn from it by living in it. I don't know what God has planned for me and my family, but I do know that I must faithfully wait for those plans to be revealed and for God to work in me if I am going to live the life He has planned for me. Living in faith is not going to be easy. It wasn't easy for any of the people we see mentioned in this chapter of Hebrews. We do know the rewards are well worth it though.

"36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." – Hebrews 11:36-40

By faith we are made perfect because it is by faith that we believe in Christ's sacrifice for us. Without faith there is no hope for this world, so we must trust in faith.


  1. How are you commended in this day and age for your faith?
  2. What do you feel is promised to you by faith?
  3. Why did God choose to make his message faith based instead of through an awesome display of "God power"?

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