It Takes Faith
Read Hebrews 11:1-40
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. . . .
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
(Hebrews 11:1, 13-19)
Hebrews 11 is the great “faith hall of fame”—shout-outs for the people who exhibited faith in God. Many died without receiving all that God had promised, but they never lost their vision of heaven (Hebrews 11:16—“a better place, a heavenly homeland”). The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are “foreigners and nomads” (Hebrews 11:13). Just as nomads wandered the desert without a permanent home, this world is not our permanent home. Heaven is our permanent home. It is best for us not to be so attached to this world’s desires and possessions that we can’t move out at God’s command.
The beginning point of faith is belief in God’s character: He is who he says he is. The end point is believing in God’s promises: He will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith (see John 20:24-31).
Some Christians become frustrated and defeated because their expectations and demands are not immediately met when they believe in Jesus. They become disillusioned. Are you discouraged because the achievement of your goal seems far away? Take courage from these heroes of faith who lived and died without seeing the fruit of their faith on earth and yet continued to believe.