Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Hebrews 11:1-12 (NRSV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”
This well-known chapter in Hebrews is often called the Faith Hall of Fame. It gives us a long list of the ancient giants of faith who all did something noteworthy, something special, to receive recognition. These men and women were honored for their acts of faith and show us that we can lean on our faith during difficult times.
By faith we see that God’s word called the world into existence. From there we get the list of those Hall of Famers. Note that each description begins with “By faith…”: Abel gave a better sacrifice to God than Cain; Enoch skipped death completely; Noah built a ship in the desert; Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown land, which became his home; Isaac and Jacob lived under the same promise given to Abraham; a barren and old Sarah gave birth to a child.
Verses 6 and 12 summarize this section of chapter 11. It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. What are the results of those acts of faith that pleased God? From one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the billions just like the stars in heaven and grains of sand on the seashore.
O give thanks unto the Lord. God is good. God’s mercy and faithfulness endure forever. Amen.
Go with God.