Hebrews 11 [Clear Word]

11. HABITUAL FAITH

1 To have faith means to be confident of the things we hope for and to be sure of the things we can't see. 2 This is the kind of faith that gave some of our ancestors a good name and won God's approval. 3 Faith in God not only reaches into the future, but also into the past. By faith we understand that God created the whole universe out of nothing. He simply spoke and it was. 4 This is the kind of faith that Abel had when he obeyed and sacrificed a lamb with the grain, whereas Cain offered the grain without the lamb. So Abel won God's approval as being righteous because he did exactly what God told Him to do. God spoke well of him and Abel's example of faith and obedience is still speaking to us today, even though he's dead. 5 Enoch had this same faith. He lived a life of obedience, perfectly dedicated to God and was taken to heaven without first having to die. One day his family and friends looked for him where he usually went to pray with God, but they couldn't find him because God had taken him to heaven. Enoch pleased God while he was still on earth, before he was taken to heaven. 6 But it's impossible to please God without having faith. Even our confidence that God exists is based on faith. To have faith not only means to believe that God exists but that He rewards those who look for Him. 7 Noah is another example of this kind of faith. God told him it would rain, which it had never done because the earth had always been watered by mist. But he believed what God said and prepared for the flood by doing what God had told him to do. As a result, his whole family was saved. Today Noah has the reputation of being a righteous man because of his faith in God. 8 When Abraham was called to leave the comforts of his home in Ur to live in tents in a land he was supposed to inherit, he obeyed, even though he didn't know where God was leading him. 9 By faith he lived in tents as a foreigner in the land that God promised to give him. Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise, also lived as foreigners in the land. 10 Abraham never lost sight of God's promise, especially its ultimate fulfillment. By faith he looked forward to a city with permanent foundations whose designer and builder is God. 11 It was faith in God's promise that enabled Abraham to become a father and Sarah to become a mother, even though she was too old to have children. 12 God worked a miracle and she conceived and gave birth to a son. So from one old man and his aged wife, whose body was as good as dead, came so many descendants that today they are as numerous as the stars in the sky and as difficult to count as grains of sand beside the sea. 13 Their descendants also lived by faith and looked forward with confidence to the time when God's promises would be fulfilled before they died. They didn't receive all the things that God had promised, but by faith they treasured those promises and were not ashamed to admit that they were strangers and pilgrims on this earth. 14 Those who think of themselves this way show that they are looking forward to a better land. 15 Abraham and those with him didn't keep thinking of the country they had left, because they could have gone back to live in comfort rather than wandering around Palestine living in tents. 16 But they were looking forward to a better country, a heavenly one. So God is not ashamed to be their God, and He's even prepared a glorious city for them. 17 By faith Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice when his love for God was tested, but God stopped him from going through with it. Abraham had been promised many descendants, yet he was willing to sacrifice the only son he had. 18 God had said to Abraham, "It is through Isaac that you'll have the descendants I promised you." 19 Abraham held on to that promise in spite of God's strange request to sacrifice Isaac. It was painful for him to obey, but he reasoned that because God cannot lie, He would keep His promise by raising Isaac from the dead. In one sense, that's what happened; he received him back with such joy, it was as if he had been raised from the dead. 20 Isaac showed this same faith in God's promise by the way he blessed Jacob and Esau regarding their future. 21 By faith Jacob, just before he died, included the two sons of Joseph in his fatherly blessing. He was so feeble he had to lean on his cane as he did so. 22 Joseph also gave evidence of this same faith when, just before he died, he told the Israelites that one day they would leave Egypt and when they left, they should take his body with them. 23 By faith the parents of Moses went against the king's command to kill all baby boys. They were not afraid to hide their son for the first three months of his life because they believed that he was no ordinary child and that God had a special reason for him to live. 24 Moses showed this same faith all through his youth. He refused to become emotionally attached to Egypt or to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 He chose to suffer persecution with God's people rather than to stay at the palace and enjoy the pleasures of sin for the few short years of a man's life. 26 He regarded disgrace and scorn for the sake of Christ of more value than all the treasures of Egypt. He believed in the fulfillment of God's promise and looked ahead to the final reward. 27 It was by faith that he left Egypt, not because he was afraid to die at the hands of the king. He never looked back or longed for Egypt, because the One invisible to human eyes was by his side. 28 By faith he returned to Egypt through God's leading and urged the people to keep the Passover the night they were to be set free. By faith he told them to sprinkle the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that their firstborn would not be killed. 29 By faith the children of Israel left Egypt and passed through the Red Sea as if it had been dry ground. When the Egyptians came after them and tried to do the same, the sea closed up and they were all drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho collapsed after the children of Israel marched around the city each day for seven days. 31 Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute in Jericho, believed in the God of Israel, so she did not die with the unbelievers. Because of her faith in what God would do for His people, she welcomed the spies and hid them at the risk of her own life. 32 There are many such people of faith, but there isn't time for me to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. 33 By faith those who loved God conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised. It was because of Daniel's faith that God shut the mouths of hungry lions. 34 It was faith that kept the three Hebrews from being burned up in the blazing furnace. It was faith that kept the Jews from being killed by a jealous Persian administrator. It was faith that turned our people's weakness into strength to defeat entire armies of foreign troops. 35 And by faith women received their dead raised back to life. Others, who chose torture and death rather than freedom, looked forward by faith to the resurrection. 36 Many were cruelly mocked and whipped, put in chains and imprisoned. 37 Others have been stoned to death, sawed in half, killed by the sword. Others wore sheepskins or goatskins; they were poor, persecuted and mistreated. 38 For them the comforts of this world were not worth losing faith in God. They became refugees and wandered in deserts and mountains, making their homes in caves and holes in the ground. 39 What a record of faith all these people have left! What a good report, to hold on to God even though they didn't receive everything that He had promised! 40 God wanted them to wait for us so that, together, He can take all His people to heaven at the same time. (See also 1Cor 13:33, 40.)