Hebrews 11 lists Biblical characters commended for their strong faith. How did they show their faith? What is similar in all of them?
I see three main truths. Faith is manifested in:
1) How they died: on their death bed, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph worshipped God with their faith, pronounced blessings: expecting good things for their children. vv.20-22
(Implication: Faith does not end with life. My faith affects my children and people I leave behind.)
2) How they lived: vv.23-38
a) Moses’ parents saved their baby- Moses who grew up to do great things for God. Moses chose to be an exile over being a prince. He obeyed God to lead His people out of Egypt. vv 23-28
b) Liberated slaves crossed the Red Sea. Empowered slaves brought down the walls of Jericho. An alien prostitute saved her family. vv. 29-31
c) What else did other men and women of faith do? vv 33-38
who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
(Implication: Faith does not make things easy. It makes things possible.)
3) Their reward: vv. 39-40
39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
(Implication: The reward of faith is not to receive what we believe in, it is not even to get what we were promised. The reward of faith is the approval of God. The purpose of faith is for God to show something better. Faith is made perfect in how more lives are affected for better. Faith lives on even as the faithful passed on.)
How is my faith? How am I living? How will I face death? What is my response to life’s challenges?
Do I ask God why this, why that? Do I complain of thorns that come with the roses?
Do I worry? What am I afraid of? Of failures? Of sickness? Of not knowing or not having enough? Of living? Of dying?
What is my expectation in life? What do I expect God to do for me? What do I know of God that He is doing for me? What am I doing with what He has given me?
The answers to all these define my faith. How is yours, my friend?