“By Faith” (Hebrews 11:6)

| Fri, Nov 17, 2017 | Set 2 Week 47

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And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. —Hebrews 11:6

Leading up to our Fighter Verse of the week, and after, is a record of faithful followers of God whose stories are recorded in full in the Old Testament and recalled in Hebrews. I remember as a young girl Hebrews chapter 11 being called “The Hall of Faith” chapter — our own “Hall of Fame” in the Bible.

Why did the writer of Hebrews recall the stories of these Old Testament faith-followers? First, if we go back to the end of chapter 10 we are reminded of our need to persevere (10:36) and that faith is the means of doing so, and if we don’t have faith in God, He finds no pleasure in us (10:38). I think the writer wanted to remind his audience then, and us now, of that which ultimately glorifies God in every situation, hard or easy, of our lives: living by faith in God and His promises. It pleases Him!

But what is this “faith” that we’re supposed to live by? Well according to 11:1, “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And we see this definition exemplified through the lives of our faith-followers and believers from the OT as we read how they persevered by faith. I have these two key words circled in my Bible each time the faith of an OT believer is recalled — that’s 19 times we are reminded of those who lived by faith!

Now something I want you to keep in mind about our Hall of Faith believers was that they were not perfect, there were times they lacked faith. In the midst of hardship, Moses doubted God and questioned Him, “…O Lord… Why did you ever send me?” (Exodus 5:22). But despite his doubt, by faith, Moses kept trusting and walking with God. And there’s Sarah who laughed upon overhearing the Lord tell Abraham that she would bear a son in her old age, and then she denied before the Lord that she laughed (Gen 18:10-15). Yet, “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised,” (Heb. 11:11). So even though Sarah first doubted God and laughed at Him, and after a little rebuke from the Lord, she believed God and took Him at His word and bore a son to Abraham.

I don’t know about you, but I find encouragement knowing that these great men and women of faith were not perfect and had moments of doubt — because I, too, sometimes find myself lacking faith. And when I recognize that I’m lacking faith, I go back and rehearse truths and promises to myself like, “…the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” Deut. 31:6, or “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” Rom. 8:28.
I love these promises and rehearse them often because living in SE Asia can be very hard at times. Simple tasks like going to the market, trying to get a motorbike license, or finding someone to fix a leaky faucet can be difficult because the vendors don’t speak English and I can barely speak their heart language! Or, there’s the concern of offending my neighbor because I don’t understand their culture or customs very well. I actually told God that I would only be willing to live overseas if He brought me a husband first because fear and doubt gripped my heart so much! Yet, here I am, two years down and more to go, single and living overseas! But I could not and cannot do it apart from faith in God and trusting in His promises!

My faith is also encouraged and built up as I hear testimonies of native SE Asians share how they came to know the Lord. Many have been rejected by their families and friends, some have been cast out of their villages, some have been persecuted and imprisoned — all because of their faith in God. I feel privileged to know these dear brothers and sisters, and it’s through their stories that I’m reminded why God sent me overseas: to know Him and make Him known as I trust in Him and live by faith each day, for His glory!

What are you having to trust God for today? Are you taking God at His word and rehearsing truths to yourself? Are you remembering His promises? God is with you! Fight hard with truths and have faith because “…without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.


Reflection Questions:

  1. What are you having to trust God for today?
  2. Are you walking by faith and taking God at His word each day, in the big and small things?
  3. What truths and promises do you rehearse to yourself to fight the fight of faith?
  4. Do you have a person of faith you look up to, either from the OT or NT, a pastor, missionary, parent or friend, to remind you of God’s unfailing love and faith to His children?

Jill Henry calls Michigan, Indianapolis, and SE Asia all home. She has spent most of the past twenty years in full-time ministry on staff with Life Action Ministries, two local church ministries, and currently with an organization in SE Asia. Jill works alongside those seeking biblical justice for vulnerable women and children and longs to make Christ known to those who’ve not heard the Good News. Jill loves a good cup of coffee, used book shops, and Michigan football.

Children Desiring God (CDG) publishes Fighter Verses and offers products to support you in your Bible memory efforts. CDG also publishes God-centered Sunday School curriculum for children and youth, parenting booklets to equip parents to spiritually shepherd their children, and the Making Him Known series of books for family devotions.

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