Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BIBLE STUDY: Hebrews 11:1-40


This link will let you see the trek of the Israelites from the time they left Egypt, where they crossed the Red Sea, and finally to the promised land.

This chapter in Hebrews is known for its testaments of faith.In fact, it is often referred to as the "Hall of Faith."Faith is defined in verses 1-2: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

And in verse 6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This Hall of Faith in this chapter gives testimony to such faithfuls as Abel. In verse 4: By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.

This Hall of Faith includes Enoch -- Verse 5: By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God has taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Then there was Noah. He started building this huge big boat in his back yard long before it started to rain. What do you think his neighbors thought? Yet Noah knew that if God said he'd need a big boat because the rains were coming, Noah had every faith that it would happen -- verse 7: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

And there was Abraham. God told him he was supposed to just pick up and move his whole entire family. Didn't tell him exactly where he was going, but just get ready. Oh, and it's going to take you forty years and you'll wander around in the desert, but I want you to do this. Forget that nice little house where you could go up on the roof and watch the sun go down and catch the evening breezes. I want you to live in tents for a while. You can explain it to the missus. She'll understand. In verses 8-12: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and building is God.

By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age -- and Sarah herself was barren -- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.In verse 17: By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son.

In verse 20: By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

In verse 21: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

In verse 22: By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

In verse 23: By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

In verses 24-28: By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

In verse 29: By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

In verse 30: By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

In verse 31: By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

And from verses 32 through the end of this chapter, there is a dissertation about so many others who exhibited great faith and made their choice, took their stand against what would have been more popular, and pleased God by their choice.

In verses 39 and 40: These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Did you learn something about your faith in today's readings? Is it a strong faith that would please God? Practice your faith and lift your prayers to heaven. God hears each and every one of our prayers. It pleases him greatly that we want to talk to him and bring our thoughts and concerns to him.


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