Hebrews – God’s Action in Jesus
Where are you in life and what do believe? Stop and think about it. Take all the time you need. Are you waiting for God to part the sea of doubt? Are you going through a storm that is pelting you with a hail of trouble? Is your offspring not behaving in the ways you know you have taught them? Is the ark of debt multiplying instead of decreasing because of unexpected expenses? Are you now caring for children in your family because their parents are on drugs and don’t care about raising their offspring? Is your spouse suddenly deciding that you are not the “one” and is browsing the internet for more entertainment? Is you job not what you thought it would be?
Better question…in the midst of life…are you still believing?
We will read in our next half of Hebrews 11 about a few of God’s faithful who still believed in God and their future with God in midst of pain, trouble, searching and homelessness. They knew where they were headed. They knew that earth was NOT their final destination. “By an act of faith” no matter what they were presently going through, they still believed.
Do we still believe? Can we accept what is going on right now with eyes that cast a glance for what lies ahead? If we can, we will have a different, more holy, perspective on life. Still believing is the action of faith in God, the unshakable foundation upon which we stake our lives. I’m still believing…are you?
Hebrews 11, The Message
13-16 Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
17-19 By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.
20 By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.
21 By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.
22 By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.
23 By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.
24-28 By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. By an act of faith, he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.
29 By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.
30 By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.
31 By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.
32-38 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
39-40 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.
THINK ABOUT IT…
–These people of faith were humans just like us.
–These people who still believed in the middle of trouble and questioning were people just like us.
–“Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves.”
–“Their faith and our faith come together to make on competed whole”…a legacy of still believing…joint heirs with Christ, the promised and fulfilled Messiah of all.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am still believing where I am right now. My faith tested, my trust in You evaluated. This is not our final destination. I know where I’m going and I am sure to meet you when you decide it is time. Thank you for these created humans of faith who are examples to us today. Thank you for always being with us. Thank you for the glimpse of a future with you through Your Word to us. Continue to transform us to think and behave more like you because we are still believing…
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.