1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For by it our ancestors won God’s approval. Hebrews 11:1-2 CSB
Hebrews 11 is a perfect description of faith, but faith is something that you have to grow into--it's personal. Since faith comes from experience and wisdom, I asked my grandfather to join me in discussing this important Fruit of the Spirit.
About My Grandfather
My grandfather is a retired musician and a minister in the United Methodist Church. He serves as a chaplain in various organizations and preaches from time to time.
Acts of Faith Described in Hebrews
- Hebrews 11:3 - Understanding that God created the world through His Word (Genesis 1). Today, people are ostracized if they believe in Creation. We can't fathom God merely speaking and things coming into existence. The invisible became visible, and it's hard for us to simply trust that. Thus this acknowledgement of God as the rightful supreme authority in the universe requires faith.
- Hebrews 11:4 - Abel's sacrifice was better than Cain's because His was given through faith (Genesis 4). We may not sacrifice animals and crops anymore, thanks to Jesus' ultimate sacrifice, but we do sacrifice time, dreams, relationships, etc. for the glory of God. We should always be willing to give God our best!
- Hebrews 11:5 - Enoch escaped death because of his faith (Genesis 5:24). Can you imagine how much faith a person has to have to be taken straight to Heaven with no need to actually die?
- Hebrews 11:7 - Noah built the ark on faith (Genesis 6). The people around him had to have laughed at this outrageous act. Similarly, people today will laugh and mock us when we do God's Will. It takes faith in God's Word to push past this criticism and do what God has called us to do.
- Hebrews 11:8 - Abraham left his home on faith (Genesis 12). Living away from home is a big deal for most people. People are always shocked that I moved to South Florida alone and don't have family in the area. At least I have a cell phone, face chat software, a car, and access to flights. Abraham didn't have any of these things; he just struck out on his own.
- Hebrews 11:11 - Faith allowed Sarah to conceive in her old age (Genesis 21). Many couples have fertility problems today and many women in the Bible had fertility issues. However, God made a way for each of them (Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, etc.) Their faith is what kept them going.
- Hebrews 11:13 - Those mentioned above knew prophecy. They wanted to see the "paradise" they would inherit and the savior who would bring this salvation, but they died before any of this came to pass. However, they died knowing it would come to pass.
- Hebrews 11:17 - Abraham offered his only son as sacrifice (Genesis 22). God did exactly the same thing, except He had to allow Jesus to die (there was no alternative sacrifice waiting for him). Sometimes the sacrifice we are called to give feels like something we could never part with, but God is more important and always worth the sacrifice.
- Hebrews 11:20-22 - Isaac blesses Esau and Jacob; Jacob blesses his children; Joseph mentions the Exodus. Each of these men had faith in the promise that God would lead them into their own land where they would prosper.
- Hebrews 11:23 - Moses hidden (Exodus 2). Despite the turmoil and evil around them, Moses’ parents had faith that God would protect their child.
- Hebrews 11:24 - Moses rejects royalty(Exodus 2). Despite the power and opportunity it gave, Moses’ rejected the royal name of Egypt (the world) in favor of his identity in YHWH.
- Hebrews 11:27-29 - Moses delivers them from Egypt (Exodus). Going back to Egypt was not an easy feat for Moses; he had to face his past (killing two Egyptians and confront Pharaoh). It takes faith for us to enter into certain situations and it may take even more faith to do the things God calls us to do in those situations.
- Hebrews 11:30 - The Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6). We have to let God fight our battles; it requires much less work on our part and is always successful.
- Hebrews 11:31 - Rahab helps the Israelites (Joshua 2). In order for Rahab to help the Israelites and become grafted in to Israel, she had to betray the people she grew up with. Some times we have to leave those closes to us to become closer to God.
- Hebrews 11:32-34 - The judges of Israel (Judges). When God called, they went to battle for Him, literally.
References and Footnotes
- Both my grandparents taught music, so I began learning from them at a very early age.
- I have no idea how old my grandfather is and the revelation that he is somewhere near 80 was actually a shock to me during the episode.
- That is actually me playing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" at the end on the podcast. Pardon my intonation, I'm a bit out of practice.