“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
This is the best definition of faith ever and this chapter in Hebrews is all about faith. It’s not necessarily about things always going your way but it is about the knowing that God is in it, whatever your it is. It’s the knowing that even if “it” doesn’t go exactly the way you planned it in your mind, it is about knowing that God will walk it out with you every step of the way. This chapter is sometimes called The Hall of Faith. It sets apart these people in the Bible who had faith. It gives us these examples to live by.
Abel offered up his sacrifices to God and they were more acceptable than his brother Cains. And even though Cain killed Abel, God is still pointing out that his sacrifice was more favorable. (v. 4)
Enoch pleased God, by his actions and his faith, and because of that he never tasted death, he was taken up in a cloud all at once. (v. 5)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
God told Noah to build an ark and even though he had never seen rain, he built it and he became an heir of righteousness. (v. 7)
Abraham followed God to a new place, the promised land, even though he had no idea where it would be. (vv. 8-10)
Sarah, who was old and past the age of childbearing, conceived and bore her son so that Abraham would have descendants “as many as the stars”. (vv. 11-12)
Abraham also, offered up his own son Isaac, as a sacrifice, knowing that if God chose to allow the sacrifice that he could raise him from the dead, because he had already received the promise that through Isaac he would receive those descendants. (vv17-19) That one is the faith that always takes my breath away!!
Isaac, blessed his sons Jacob and Esau by faith. (v. 20)
Jacob blessed each of the sons of his son Joseph. (v 21)
Joseph requested of the Israelites to take his bones from Egypt when they left, even though at the time, that was not in the human plan. (v. 22)
Even though there were orders to kill all the male babies, Moses mom hid him for 3 months. That’s some pretty good faith there, have you ever tried to tell a baby not to cry when you needed to keep him quiet? (v. 23)
And when Moses grew up, he exhibited great faith by refusing to be a son of Pharoah’s daughter and enjoy all the benefits that would have come from that but he led the Israelites from Egypt, and he kept the Passover and he sprinkled the blood on doorframes as instructed so that the Destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t take their firstborns. (vv. 24-28)
Moses also crossed the Red Sea on dry land while the Egyptians drowned in that same Red Sea. (v. 29)
The walls of Jericho fell after some people marched around them for seven days. (v. 30)
Rahab, welcomed spies into her home and in turn saved her whole family because she had faith in the God of the spies. (v. 31
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, sopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war put foreign armies to flight.”
The Bible is full of stories of faith! All of these people showed great faith to God in so many many ways, and yet:
“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40
All of these men and women mentioned in this hall of faith were before the promised one, the Messiah, Jesus. Their faith was big, yet we have Jesus who completes our faith. Our faith is perfect, completed through Jesus! Yes and Amen!!!