TO CHEW ON: "And these all died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland." Hebrews 11:13-14
If you have read today's reading, you have seen faith in action. What impresses me about the descriptions of faith in this ledger of heroes is the variety of ways faith impacts life.
- Faith touches the beginning of life (vs. 23) and the end (vs 20-23).
- It influences choices (vs. 24-25).
- It is demonstrated in obedience (vs. 28).
- It leans on God in times of emergency (vs. 29).
- In battle it trusts the Commander, not conventional wisdom (vs. 30).
- It acts alone if necessary (vs. 31).
- It subdues kingdoms, works righteousness, sees promises fulfilled, cheats death (vs. 33).
- It faces ridicule, persecution, even death without flinching, regardless of the outcome. (vs. 36-38).
How can faith do all these things? Because it believes that this physical see-feel-hear-smell-taste-life is not all there is.
A sidebar article in my Bible talks about what the Bible writers mean when they talk about faith. They understand that:
1] "the entire creation, visible and invisible, is the result of a Creator's direct, intelligent action and not the product of blind chance.
2] historic figures have encountered this Creator in personal ways, evidencing He is more than merely a force and that He is a personal God who relates to those who seek Him n providential and redemptive ways" (Gerald E. Brooks in "The Concept of Faith" New Spirit Filled Life Bible p. 1743).
I would add a third item:
3] The person with biblical faith knows that this life is not all there is. Someday he/she will arrive at the "homeland" (Hebrews 11:13-16).
What do you need faith for in your life today? The return of a prodigal? The healing of a body? The untangling of a situation at work or school? Whatever it is, let the exhibits in this gallery reassure you that God can work in your circumstance too. And should the price of your faith mean you pay the ultimate price, you can rest assured that this life is only the first chapter of your continuing saga of redemption and grace.
PRAYER: Dear God, please grow in me a strong unshakeable faith in You. Amen.
MORE: A life out of sync with the world
"...the life of faith is the life of an exile, a sojourner, a refugee. The promises of God are our real home and we have seen them from afar and have greeted them and tasted them and they have made us restless and uneasy. They have begun to shape our whole way of seeing and thinking and feeling. They have colored all our values and goals and desires. We have been put out of sync with this world because our treasure is in heaven. — John Piper,"The Hope of Exiles on the Earth."
Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.