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Scripture reading – Hebrews 11; Hebrews 12

Hebrews 11 and 12 are pivotal chapters in our study of the Epistle to the Hebrews.  While earlier chapters have been heavily weighted with the great doctrines of our faith, the two chapters before us are historical, practical, and inspiring. Our devotional will be taken from Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11 is known to people of faith as the Bible’s “Hall of Faith.” Though only forty verses in length, some of the great giants of faith are recorded here. The faith of Abel, Enoch, and Noah are given to encourage believers in extraordinary faith (11:4-8). The legacy of Abraham’s faith, his obedience, patience, and enduring faith are described for all to have confidence in what the Lord promises, He will perform (11:8-19).

We find the character of true faith. (11:23-28)

The fearless faith portrayed by the parents of Moses, who refused to be “afraid of the king’s commandment” (11:23). Then, Moses, following their example, placed his faith in the God of Israel, rejected the world, and refused “to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (11:24). The faith of Moses also instructs us regarding the sacrificial, hopeful, and abiding nature of faith (11:25-27). He “forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king,” for his eyes were upon the Lord (11:27). When the death angel came to slay the firstborn of Egypt, Moses instructed the people to keep the Passover, “and the sprinkling of blood” (11:28).

Hebrews 11:29-31 reminded believers that people of faith trust God, even when circumstances seem unreasonable.

With the Red Sea before Israel, and Pharaoh’s army behind them, Moses called upon Israel, and said, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14). What powerful lessons in faith we find recorded here! From Israel passing through the Red Sea (11:29), to the walls of Jericho collapsing, sparing only the harlot Rahab and her family because she “received the spies [of Israel],” and believed God. (11:30-31)

Examples of heroic faith (11:32-40) are given, and all they suffered and endured (11:35-37). They were courageous, and trusted God would provide the salvation He promised (11:39). They believed the Lord would provide them better than this world could afford (11:40).

Closing thoughts – Before I conclude today’s devotional, it behooves me to define faith, and ask the question:

Do you have faith? (11:1-3)

To my knowledge, the only definition of faith in the Scriptures is found in the first three verses of Hebrews 11. Verse 1 gives us a twofold aspect of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1).

Faith encompasses confidence and conviction.

First, faith is “the substance (a settled confidence and assurance) of things hoped for” (a lively expectation). Secondly, faith is “the evidence (conviction) of things not seen” (not yet seen or come to pass). Faith, then, is not something I hope might come to pass, but a settled conviction of something I have assurance will come to pass (11:1).

Notice also how faith will be rewarded. We read, for “by it (faith) the elders” (meaning the ancient patriarchs whose names and examples will follow, 11:4-38), “obtained a good report” (11:2, 39). The names of the “elders” recorded in the verses that followed were given as a testimony and encouragement to all people of faith.

Finally, we are given the foundation and object of our faith:

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (11:3). A man’s faith is only as good as the object of his faith. Some men put faith in an idol of stone, clay, wood, or precious metals. Others put faith in themselves (intellect, reasoning, and works). Some put faith in other men, their promises and assurances. Others put faith in religion, their church, and traditions.

The believer’s faith is in His Creator, who spoke the world into existence by His Word (11:3a; Genesis 1). How can we know God exists, and He created the world? By faith. We believe God revealed Himself to man by His creation (Psalm 19:1-3). We did not see the world created, but we see everywhere His handywork. Lastly, it is by faith that we believe God has a place prepared for His children, “an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:1-3).

I urge you to be a student of God’s Word (Romans 10:17). Listen to faithful men who believe, and preach God’s Word. But remember, God alone is worthy of your faith.

Do you have faith?

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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