Hebrews 11:1-22 (NIV)
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
What is FAITH?
Hebrews 11:1 (King James Version)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Henry David Thoreau:
“The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.”
from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery:
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified Bible)
NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4By faith Abel offered God a BETTER sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
THE TRUE MEANING OF THE PROMISED LAND
by David Wilkerson
God gave our forefather Abraham the land of Canaan “for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8). In Hebrew, the word everlasting means never-ending. You might think, “Abraham had to rejoice over this. God promised his descendants a permanent homeland, as far as they could see, and it would last into eternity.” However, the New Testament tells us the world will be destroyed by fire, burnt completely out of existence, after which the Lord will bring about a new heaven and earth.
You may wonder: How could God’s “everlasting possession” to Abraham be a mere piece of real estate? How could it be eternal? The fact is, this land of promise was symbolic of a place beyond the earth. I believe Abraham knew this in his spirit. The Bible says that as Abraham moved about in Canaan, he always felt alien: “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country” (Hebrews 11:9). Why was this so? It was because Abraham’s heart longed for something beyond the land itself.
“He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham could see the true significance of the land blessing and he realized, “This place isn’t the real possession. It’s just an illustrated sermon of the great blessing to come.” Abraham grasped the true meaning of the Promised Land; he knew Canaan represented the coming Messiah. Jesus himself tells us, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).
The Holy Spirit enabled this patriarch to see down through the years, to the day of Christ. He knew that the meaning of his Promised Land meant a place of total peace and rest. And, as Abraham knew, this place of rest is Jesus Christ himself. That’s right, the Lord Jesus is our promised possession. We are his, but he is ours as well. And God invites us to obtain our everlasting possession by simple faith.
11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
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.
17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Hebrews 11:19 — Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.
Is there someone who is dead to the call of God and to all you have tried to do for him or her? Is there something in your own heart that seems dead—hope, faith, courage, gladness, patience, love? These words meet that condition. God is able to raise up even those from the dead.
Think of the infinite love of God. God so loved the world—not the good and lovable, but all the people in the world, just as they are. God loves that ungrateful patient, that difficult child, that car driver who doesn’t care, that careless workman. God loves those who have disappointed you again and again. Most wonderful of all, God loves you and me.
There are many sorrowful people in the world today, some who have lost their dearest on earth, or who have parted from them. Everywhere there is anxiety. But the power of Calvary suffices for all needs as well as for all sins.
O Love eternal, Love divine,
In wounded hearts pour oil and wine.
Where darkness broods like moonless night,
O Light of Life, let there be light.
And Thine the praise, the glory be
When Thy beloved come home to Thee.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
HERE is “O When the Saints Come Marching In.” Well, if you can’t sing this song with this chapter, when on earth can you sing it?! With Louis Armstrong, of course.