“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”
We have arrived at one of the most amazing chapters in all of the Bible. It has been aptly entitled, “The Hall of Faith.” It records incidents from the lives of many Old Testament saints who, in the midst of extreme difficulty, chose to put confidence in the Lord. Whenever we are faced with trying times, we have the choice between trusting in circumstances, emotions, or the eternal Word of God. Another way of looking at it, we can trust in what we see, or in what He says. These men and women chose to put confidence in the Words of God, and by doing so, have obtained a great testimony. We are told, although they have long since died, their lives still speak to us today. They are saying, no matter what you are facing, you can trust the promises of God. Let’s take a moment to admire a few of the influences confidence in God’s promises, brought about in the lives of those who trust in His Word.
Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
Over and over again we will read of the fruit of faith. The phrase “by faith…” is repeated 19 times in this chapter. Verse 3 is its first occurrence where we are told, understanding of things we could never grasp on our own, is found by putting confidence in the promises of God. One of the great dilemmas in life is confusion; not knowing how to handle a situation because we have never faced it before. The devil seems to have a field day when we are faced with confusion. He uses it to fill us with fear, anxiety, and even depression. What a joy to know that by faith we can understand the ways of God. The solution in our trying times is to go to the Word of God, locate the promises of God, and cling to Him.
Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
We read, by faith Abel offered, Enoch walked, Noah prepared, Abraham obeyed, Sarah was strengthened, Isaac and Jacob blessed, Joseph instructed, Moses refused, Israel entered, and Jericho collapsed. All of the great accomplishments of these men and women were brought about not because they had strong gifts, perfect circumstances, helpful friends, or super human strength. They accomplished great things because they chose to trust in the promises of God, and those promises never fail. I wonder how our lives will be recorded? If we are to honestly evaluate how we are living, how would we finish the sentence “by faith he/she …”
Whatever you are facing, there is a promise for that, and that promise along with the Spirit of God will enable you to live a life that will prove to be a good testimony to those who follow. Put your trust in the promises of God today.
Questions for Hebrews 11
This chapter is sometimes called “the hall of faith”, because it recounts the lives of characters in the Bible who trusted in God’s Word. They are recorded here as examples for us to follow. Warren Wiersbe defined faith as “confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequence.” Remember, faith just means trusting God in what He says.
1. In verse 1 faith is defined. When people observe us trusting in God and in the work of His Son, it is evidence to them that He is real. Do people find evidence of God by looking at your life?
2. Cain and Abel both offered different sacrifices to God. However, God was pleased with Abel’s and not Cain’s. According to verse 4, why? Read Genesis 4:1-13 for more info on Cain and Abel.
3. Enoch is mentioned in Genesis 5:18-24. His life is very different from the rest of the characters in the Genesis 5 genealogy: they all die, but He does not; he is simply taken by God. According to verse 5 of Hebrews why did God take Him? Look at verse 6. How can we please Him like Enoch did?
4. Look at verse 7. Noah was warned by God of the coming judgment of the flood, and spent 120 years building the ark. He responded to what God said, although there was no outward evidence. When God speaks to you about doing something, are you “moved with Godly fear”? Actions speak louder than words. Do you respect God enough to obey Him?
5. Verses 8-19 speak about the life of Abraham and Sarah (covering Genesis 11-25), and many of the ways that they trusted in God.
a. What does verse 8 tell us about the uncertainty that Abraham experienced when God called him? Have you ever felt that way in your walk with God?
b. According to verse 10 and 14-16 what was Abraham really looking and waiting for?
c. When God told Abraham to offer Isaac, according to verse 19, what did He believe God would do?
6. In verses 24-26, we see that Moses willingly laid aside the ease and luxury of being a prince of Egypt. Why did He do this? What three other things from Moses life are recorded as ways that he trusted in God?
7. Not everyone who trusts in God sees an earthly victory. Read verses 35-40. What do we learn from their lives about being faithful in difficult times?