Updated: May 5
This post is part of a series. Read the previous post here: https://tinyurl.com/vb76dbf
READ HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 HERE: https://tinyurl.com/zjdj2lb
LISTEN TO HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 HERE: https://tinyurl.com/we2tmz9
Hebrews Chapter 11: We all have faith
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
This is the well-known line that greets us as we begin today's study and it reminded me that everyone believes in something. Often we associate the word "faith" with religion, but that isn't really the case. People have faith in many different things- in many different aspects of life. For example, when you went to sleep last night you had faith that you would wake up this morning. When you have to get onto an airplane, you have faith that it really will fly and transport you safely. We make decisions based on the things we believe in- the things we trust.
The author of Hebrews gives us several examples of people from the Bible who demostrated the concept of faith in their own lives. In fact, the author lists nearly all of the prominent characters of the Old Testament in this sort of monologue:
Abel (verse 4)
Enoch (verse 5)
Noah (verse 7)
Abraham (verse 8)
Sarah (verse 11)
Issac (verse 20)
Jacob (verse 21)
Joseph (verse 22)
Moses (verse 23)
Rahab (verse 31)
As a kid, I felt like the people of the Bible had it easy. I looked at their stories and thought to myself, "If I was them I would've easily believed in God." From my perspective, believing in God from a Bible character point of view was obvious. Because of the way the Old Testament is written, I sometimes catch myself assuming things were easier when God was just openly speaking and getting things done- but Hebrews begs to differ. Not only does he insist that each Biblical hero was acting on faith, he also points out that none of them really got what they wanted... or at least what they thought they wanted. Hebrews 11:39-40 tells us, "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."
These men and women were not following God because they had to, it was because they wanted to.
It is still the same in today's society. It is very rare for people to discover God out of any sort of demand; rather people come across God because they are looking for him...or at least looking for something. Have you noticed this in your daily life? People are never satisfied- and I don't mean that in a selfish self-centered way. Instead, I'm talking about our innermost drive, the thing that keeps us asking questions like: Why? How? When?
Humans are faithful creatures. We are constantly trying to find the next best thing because we always believe something better might be out there. When an athlete wins a competition they wonder if they can win another one. When a girl goes on a date, she wonders when she will get asked out again. People are constantly looking to progress. Right now amidst the coronavirus we are not sitting back and accepting it. We are doing the opposite! We are looking for a vaccine. Why do we do this? Hebrews 11 seems to have the answer:
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
People are constantly looking to improve because they are not satisfied with the current state of the world, their lives, and the way society operates. Sure, not everyone is able to recognize why we always want things to change. Many people would simply credit such a desire to progressivism or societal development but I credit it to the fact that we are made in the likeness of a God, a being who doesn't belong here. He doesn't belong and deep down we know we don't belong either. We don't know what is out there for us, but we know we want to find out. Heaven awaits.
1. In what aspects of your life do you catch yourself constantly trying to improve or change?
2. Is a desire to constantly improve good or bad? Explain.
3. Can you think of any point in history when society was truly satisfied with what they were accomplishing? Why or why not?