Abraham went and offered
Moses’ parents hid
Moses chose, left, and kept
Each person discussed in Hebrews 11 had to act on their faith. They did not sit back and believe and wait on God to take care of it all, they were called to act on what they believed. This is the true test of faith. As a believer, it is easy to say that you trust the Creator of the Universe with your future, but it’s a lot harder when the Creator tells you to go, leave, offer, and build. He requires sacrifice. He wants us to step out in faith and do the work. He obviously doesn’t need us to do it, He could do it on His own, but He knows that it is in the work that we learn to worship, and it is in worshipping that we find our joy.
As you read through the chapter, you realize that these people, who lived these great lives of faith, ultimately did not see the end result.
“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.” (v.13)
These pioneers of the faith centered their lives around what the Lord had promised them, and yet they died still believing. When I first read this, my first thought was that they must have been so disappointed. I cannot imagine living my entire life believing that the Lord would work in a certain way, and never seeing it happen. Then I realized something: it’s not about me. I must know and agree that I am a foreigner, a nomad, here on earth. This life on earth is not my ultimate goal!
If the Lord promises me something, and asks me to act on it, all I can do is obey. If I take that first step of obedience and never get to take another, it doesn’t matter. The blessing comes in obedience, and worship comes from sacrifice. God knows what I need, but He doesn’t owe me anything. He can fulfill His promise, and keep me at a distance if He wants to, just as He did with Moses. The beautiful thing is, He is a Promise Keeper. He does not forget His covenants. My faith can lie in the fact that, whether I see it or not, it will be done. He will keep His promises. And that should be all of the evidence I need. I may never fully see what He has planned for me on this earth, but the reward of spending eternity with Him is worth every blind step.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning;they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
I like the way The Message words that last verse of Hebrews 11: “God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”
Just one more reason why He is so perfect.