LINK: Hebrews 11:17-40
Continuing with the great "Hall of Faith," the author of Hebrews recounting examples of those who lived by faith - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua (walls of Jericho), Rahab, and many more.
Abraham's faith was severely tested when God told him to offer up Isaac. But Abraham was confident that God would somehow fulfill His promise to make Isaac the heir, and he obeyed God. He passed the test! (Gen 22)
When Joseph died in Egypt, he was confident that God would fulfill His promise to take His people out of Egypt. So Joseph gave instructions to his relatives to carry his bones with them whenever God led them out and bury them in the Promised Land. (Gen 50:25, Ex 13:19)
Moses obeyed God through many difficult situations, as did many others listed here. Some were tortured and killed for their faith. Some of these events probably occurred during the time between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The author concludes with this thought - All of these people demonstrated faith in God, but none of them received the ultimate promise. They did not see the promised Messiah. Nor did they experience the resurrection. One day, the "men of old" will join together with the currently living believers in the resurrection, and all the redeemed will receive the inheritance together. God will complete our salvation!
Our faith, or lack of faith, does not determine whether we suffer or prosper in this life. Many with faith have suffered greatly, while many others of faith have not suffered so much. Also, there is no direct correlation between our faith and our prosperity. There is, however, a direct correlation between our faith and our obedience to God. And there is also a promise that our faith will be rewarded. We will join in that resurrection and receive the inheritance! Our salvation will be complete!
So, let's not focus on what we can gain in this life. Rather, let's focus on living a life of faith now so we can be richly rewarded at the resurrection. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Thank You, Lord, for so many examples of those who lived by faith. May our faith in You continue to grow as we look forward to the day when Jesus returns. Thank You for the promised resurrection and eternity with You! May we live our lives focused on You and this great salvation You give us! Amen.