1/17/2022 Hebrews 11:17-23, 27-31
Here we find the names of various fathers of the faith and what that faith meant to their lives and the lives around them. This becomes a very powerful passage when we begin to look at it, far from merely a list of elders. It becomes powerful because so much of our teaching in this world tend to lend to this idea that through sheer mental acknowledgement of Jesus as God, we can attain to the Kingdom whilst still sating our earthly pleasures and desires. We give God our earthly shopping list, end with “in Jesus’ name,” and oftentimes turn away from the faith when our wishes aren’t granted.
By faith, Abraham offered up his son Isaac as a sacrifice, even though it had been prophesied that “in Isaac your seed shall be called.” At God’s command, Abraham was to build an altar on Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac. At the last moment, an angel of God prevented him from sacrificing Isaac, explaining to Abraham, “for now I know that you fear God, since for my sake, you have not spared your beloved son.” (Genesis 22:12).
By faith, Isaac in turn blessed each of his own sons, Jacob and Esau, knowing that the Lord’s will would be done and seeking to have them attain to the Kingdom of their own will and with his guidance, in much the same manner that any father would seek to baptize their own children.
By faith, Jacob blessed each of the sons of Joseph, prefiguring the coming Christ by bowing himself to thee top of the staff o Joseph (Genesis 17:31) and blessing them with hands crossed (Genesis 48:14). By faith Joseph shared his prophetic dreams of the children of Israel and, in dying, instructed them what to do with his bones.
By faith, Moses’ parents hid him, as Pharoah had decreed that all male children born to the Hebrews must be surrendered. After months of hiding,, they placed him on an ark, entrusting that God would be his guide.
By faith, when Moses had come of age, he refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to suffer in the affliction with God’s people rather than delighting with the sinful pleasures offered him as the grandchild of Pharoah.
By faith, Moses forsook Egypt, enduring the wrath of the king and keeping the Passover.
By faith, Moses passed the Red Sea as though it were dry land, even while the Egyptians who chased after him were flooded and drowned.
By faith, the walls of Jericho, thought impenetrable, simply fell. By faith, Rahab the harlot saved the lives of the men who were sent to spy on Jericho, in spite of the potential punishment for doing so.
It’s this whole idea that by they, each of them did something. Something happened in each case because of the faith that guided the situations and the people. Sheer action and will alone could never have accomplished these things, neither could faith alone. It was the conjunction of “by faith” with the actions that were led by that faith. Noah’s faith told him that the world was going to flood, however, it was the building of the Ark that saved the world. It was the action led by the faith. He goes on to list various other examples of those who again accomplished various things and were willing to face torture and death for the sake of their faith. Far removed from what we consider it to mean to be a Christian, the true faithful all throughout Scripture are those are willing to face torture, hatred, and death for the sake of the faith.
Ultimately, this is where it becomes so powerful for us. When we look at these lives, these situations, it was never about what they wanted, it was about God’s will for their lives, their purpose. And that becomes the disconnect with our generation. We want what we want, never seeking the actual purpose God has for our lives. And we are given this choice. We can either seek God’s will for us, our purpose; or we can choose to place our own earthly desires over His will. Remember, each of these had faith, they had faith in the will of God, and were willing to do that which He required of them.
May we each, filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, choose the will of the God of all creation over the will of ourselves as a created god. Jesus alone has the power to save, and He is very descript about what He expects from those who would come after Him. “Many will say to Me Lord, Lord…and I will say to them, I never knew you.”
Christ is in our midst.