Hebrews 11 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by William Sam, Gracepoint Berkeley

Hebrews 11:4-11
·List out the qualities of all those commended in this chapter as being paragons of faith.  What is the overarching characteristic of these people?

Abel – Offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did & Commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offering
Enoch – Before he was taken, Enoch was commended as one who pleased God
Noah – When warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear Noah built an ark to save his family
Abraham – Called to go to a place he would later receive his inheritance, he obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. He was looking forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God; in other words, he was looking ahead, he was heaven-bound and heaven-focused. Abraham considered God faithful, who had made the promise to Sarah (barren) and Abraham (past age) that they would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, and he offered Isaac even though it was his only son, believing that God could raise him from the dead
Isaac – Blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future
Jacob – When dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff
Joseph – When his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones
Moses’ parents – Hid Moses for 3 months after he was born because they saw Moses was no ordinary child and they were not afraid of the king’s edict
Moses – Chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short while. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward. He left Egypt, not fearing the King’s anger, because Moses saw God, who is invisible. Moses kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel
Rahab – Welcomed the spies and was not killed with those who were disobedient.
In looking at the overarching characteristics of those who are commended for their faith in this chapter, I believe verses 6 sums up those characteristics succinctly.  (6) And without faith

it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  This verses seemingly breaks down two chief criteria to faith.  The first item is that we must believe that He, God, exists.  The second item is that God rewards those who seek him, and as the verses indicate, obey him as well.
Abel offered up a better sacrifice than Cain because he honored God and reverently offered up what he had to God.  Enoch lived his life in such a way that pleased the Lord. 
Noah was warned about things that he did not even see, and yet, he obeyed the instructions to build the ark out of holy fear.  Why did Noah do it besides the fact that Noah believed that God truly exists and that after receiving the orders from God, that Noah should obey.  Noah obeyed despite not seeing what it was that he was being warned against.
Abraham is commended because he obeyed the Living God and went to a place that God told him to go.  Abraham did not know where he was going and he chose to leave a familiar place, the place of his father’s, the place where he would have received an inheritance had he stayed, and chose instead to live in tents like a stranger in foreign land.  Abraham obeyed because he was looking forward to a city, not here on earth, but in heaven, where the architect and builder is God.  Abraham, though he was past age, and Sarah, though she was barren, both believed that they would be able to bear children and that their descendants would number as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.  They believed because they considered the maker of the promise, God, faithful.  If God says something would happen, they would take those words as good and true.  And the examples continue with Abraham with regards to Isaac, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, the Israelites in the desert, the Israelites at the walls of Jericho, and the prostitute Rahab.
Each of these people of faith believed that God does indeed exist and they took Him seriously.  They obeyed God’s call to them despite them having the full view of how things would turn out.  They were all able to live in obedience because they trusted in the Promise Maker; they trusted in God. 
Am I living a life of faith?
I know that there are many ways in which I’m not fully living out the life of complete faith and trust.  I would say, however, that there are ways in which I am trying and striving to live that life of faith.  I think about the season that our church is in – the season of numerous New Student Welcome Nights – here at SF State, at Berkeley, at Austin, today in Minnesota, and then in San Diego and Riverside.  Quite honestly, we have no idea what impact, great or small, these Welcome Night’s will have.  Sure we’ll feed literally thousands of hungry people.  We’ll meet endless people, play tons of games and have lots and lots of outreach activities.  What is it for?  Will people hear the message, get interested, and then come back?  You know, we don’t know and we can’t know what will happen! 
So why do we do it?  Well, to put it simply – we do it because we personally experienced the Love of Christ when we met Jesus.  We discovered the answer to our greatest need – the forgives of our sin – of anger, bitterness, lust, envy, pride, etc.  We found that Jesus was the Answer and that He wanted to usher us into an eternal existence with Him.  Having been touched by God, we wanted to bring this love to other people.  And so we bring Christ’s love in the best way we know how – in the form of meeting many people, forming relationships, and sharing about our faith in Christ.  And though we know ourselves to be inadequate, we know and trust that it is really God who is at work.  It is really the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those we meet that will draw them, intrigue them, and ultimately, lead them to Jesus.
So while I know that I fall short of these great men and women of faith in many ways, I also know that I am striving to live a life where God is very real and active; and I am trying to obey and seek Him with everything I have.  Slowly, and through time, hopefully, my life will be counted as faithful along with those who have run this race before me.

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2 Responses to “Hebrews 11 Devotion Sharing”

  1. Helen P says:

    thanks for sharing will!

  2. Sean G says:

    Thanks for your sharing Will! It was such a blessing to read this text and think about it on the day of University of Minnesota NSWN.

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