- Jill Henry
By Faith (Hebrews 11:6)
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 and following our Fighter Verse 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 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 saints? If we go back to the end of chapter 10 we are reminded of our need to persevere (10:36), 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, that what ultimately glorifies God in every situation, hard or easy, is living by faith in Him and in His promises. It pleases Him!
But what is this “faith” that we’re supposed to live by? 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.
Keep in mind hat 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 (Genesis 18:10-15). Yet, “[b]y faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised,” (Hebrews 11:11). Even though Sarah first doubted God and laughed at Him, 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,” (Deuteronomy 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,” (Romans 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 language. Or there’s the concern of offending my neighbor because I don’t understand his 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! I could not, and cannot, do it apart from faith in God and trusting in His promises.
My faith is encouraged and built up as I hear testimonies of native SE Asians sharing 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 Him 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).
What are you having to trust God for today? Are you walking by faith and taking God at His word each day, in the big and small things?
What truths and promises do you rehearse to yourself to fight the fight of faith?
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?