Faith, God

A Glimpse at Those Who Lived by Faith

Read Hebrews 11

Think about the following hypothetical scenarios. You and your spouse live in a nice home on a nice piece of land. You have a big pool and outdoor living space. Nearby are family and friends you invite over and entertain often. You’re in heaven. You love your life, and everything is just the way you dreamed it could be.

Then God comes to you and says he wants you and your spouse to pack everything up and move to a foreign country. He promises to give you lots of land for you and your descendants. The only caveat? You and your spouse do not have any children, and you aren’t able to have children.

Or, what if God asked you to build an unknown contraption. Nothing that anyone could ever fathom. People mock you and laugh at you. Your social media accounts are filled with angry and hostile posts from your friends, and the media is having a hay-day covering your crazy efforts. Would you keep going and continue building?

Abraham and Noah

These two scenarios may be vaguely familiar. Why? Because they actually happened. You just read about them in our scripture reading today. Abraham was asked to pick up and go to another country. God told him he would give the land to his descendants and make him into a great nation though he and his wife had no children. Noah was asked to build an ark in the middle of a desert. God chose him and his family to hold up in a huge boat with stinky animals while God flooded the entire earth. Both Abraham and Noah had faith and obeyed what God had requested of them even though they didn’t completely understand. Sometimes faith takes obedience without knowing what the outcome will be. Could you say, “Yes God I’ll do it!” if God asked you to?

More Faithful Servants

Later in the chapter, we come to these verses about other faithful servants of God starting in verse 32 of Hebrews chapter 11:

“But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”

Those described in this passage were kings, prophets, and apostles. Faith came at a cost for these people. However, they knew that there was something better ahead for them (the promise of an eternal home) and trusted God. I am not implying that faith always comes at a cost, but if we are going to be the kind of disciples Christ wants us to be, we have to be willing to accept that possibility. Are we willing to risk inconvenience, or prison, or death as some of these did? I am, I hope you are too.

Shining the Light Brighter – Here is where you can dig deeper to help you learn more and apply God’s word to your life.

  1. Out of these many examples of people from the “Faithful Hall of Fame”, who did you identify with or admire the most?
  2.  Some of these men and women went through some pretty “big stuff.” God always saw them through it. God is and will always be faithful to us. In what ways have you experienced God’s faithfulness to you?
  3. Do you have a story you would like to share? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.

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