Hebrews 11:13-28 (ESV)
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
Continuing in the theme of faith from yesterday, we see practical examples here of how the greats of the Bible exercised their faith. If you continue to read the last 10 verses of the chapter, you find many more that are mentioned. But none of them had received the final promise for which they were waiting. So they went to the grave waiting for the redemption of Christ, and the resurrection of the faithful.
Most of us will never have grand things to do like the heroes of the Bible, but we can exercise faith in the little things in our lives. Every time we choose to believe God instead of the bleak empty promises of this world and the evil one, we please God in our faith.
The most important step of faith that we take today, is our faith that the Lord Jesus redeemed us and is preparing a place for us in His eternal kingdom. We need to study the Scriptures and apply them to our lives. Learning from one another and discipling new Christians. We are to be leading others closer to God and sharing the Gospel message.
All these things require faith, because the Gospel message is not a popular one. I don’t understand why, but it isn’t. In this world of political correctness, it is getting harder and harder to stay true to the Gospel, and to rely upon God’s Word. The world we live in is on a warpath against the truth of God’s Word. Because the Word declares truth and does not say that everything is relative and open for interpretation.
Read, study, discuss God’s Word. Be mentored by someone more mature than you. Mentor someone less mature than you. Be open to correction. Build one another up in Christ. Let the Lord change you each day to make you a little more in His image.
by Virgil Stripes
Picture: Mt. St. Helens 2005 -- Originally erupted May 18, 1980