Faith. “The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” THIS is faith, the writer of Hebrews tells us. Assurance and conviction. Strong words.
“And through this faith, the people of old received their commendation,” the writer continues, followed by example after example of faith in the Old Testament…Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Israelites watching the walls of Jericho fall, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets.
Their faith was in something beyond the now or short term. Their faith was not in their current circumstances or immediate outcomes. Their faith was rooted in obedience and Heavenly, not earthly, rewards from seeking God.
They believed what they could not see. They went not knowing where they were going. They kept building when there was no rain in sight. They were willing to sacrifice when it made no sense. They hid their child without knowing what would happen. They chose God’s people. They stepped into the water. They marched around the city walls. They welcomed enemy spies. They conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to fight. And….
…they didn’t receive the things promised in their lifetime, but greeted them from afar. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, others suffered mocking and flogging, chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, killed with the sword. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves. But…
…they are now in a better country; a city prepared for them…the thing hoped for that they held onto with assurance and conviction, despite not being able to see it at the time.
Faith isn’t faith if it is only in seeking comfort, security, earthly rewards. Faith is far-looking and future oriented. It is in something bigger than we can see here. The opposite of fear isn’t courage; it is faith. Faith overcomes fear because faith believes God is truthful, trustworthy, powerful, and good. We won’t be as scared of obedience and short-term outcomes if we have assurance and conviction about who God is, what He can do, and the future He has prepared for us.
The Hebrews writer says, “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.”
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Why? I think it is because we would never – could never – do what is pleasing to Him without faith. It goes against our nature, our protective shells, our desire for control, our need to please others, our weakness with regard to cultural pulls. Only through faith is it possible.
God, expand our faith. Help us believe You. Trust You. Seek You and something bigger and better than our eyes can see here. Give us conviction and assurance to choose You; to please You through our faith.
All 1 1 Corinthians 1 Peter 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 & 3 John 2 Corinthians 2 Peter 2 Thessalonians 2 Timothy Acts Colossians Ephesians Galatians Hebrews Info James John Jude Luke Mark Matthew Philemon Philippians Revelation Romans TItus