Faith is the substance of things hoped for… Hebrews 11:1
Another translation of ‘substance’ is confidence, and an alternate is ‘essence’. I like the latter.
Last week I finished the series on Praying Without Ceasing by looking at the fact that sometimes we are too beaten down by what has happened to consider giving thanks in all things. I suggested that at these times thanking God for the strength to endure might be all we can manage. That, however is a prayer of faith. So, I thought this week I would look at faith.
‘The substance, or essence, of things hoped for’… was written by the Apostle Paul, and I would imagine the things he referred to were things like fulfillment of the promises of God, not a new car or home. We might hope that we could afford these, perhaps take steps to save toward them, but in all honesty I do not believe that these things are the subject what we should be having faith in.
There is quite a ‘hall of fame’ listing in Hebrews 11.
Don’t know about you… but in the past I have looked at them and said “ah yes, but they were…” Now I know they were just like me. Yes, some of them heard the voice of God, but they had to act on their own faith in the One who spoke.
Noah started building the ark on the word of God, to the ridicule of his neighbours no doubt, because from what I can find in the Bible, no rain had fallen then.
Abraham left, with just the instruction. He didn’t know where he was going and he was leaving behind everything he knew.
Moses had settled down, looking after his father in law’s sheep, when God stirred him up and showed him it was time to go back to Egypt.
Jumping to the New Testament… the disciples followed Christ, learning from Him but being rebuked for their lack of faith on more than one occasion. However, like us, they were receiving on the job training.
The disciples thought it was ‘all over’ after Christ died.
Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. John 20: 8 (Bolding mine.)
For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Jon 20: 9
They had been with Christ for three and a half years, seen what He had done, but did not understand.
Other notable examples of sight not producing faith were the Israelites in the wilderness. They had seen the awesome judgments on Egypt, had seen the Red Sea open to let them pass through, were led by the Cloud and Pillar of Fire… yet had no faith in the One Who led them.
Perhaps the best example is that of Adam and Eve. Not only did they have the ‘newness’ of God’s creation, He walked in the Garden with them in the evening, and still they chose to follow Satan.
No, sight is not enough.
The Bible is full of other examples where God has intervened, yet the people went back to worshiping idols, even sacrificing their children to them.
If they didn’t succeed how can we?
- · We can study the Bible. Even if you do not have a concordance there are many of these free on-line.
(I love the little quote picture from last week
and I am putting it in again this week.)
- · We have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
We are not fully converted, living a life of faith soon after we believe. Well, most of us are not. Like a tree it takes time to grow. As trees need sun and rain and good soil to grow, we need the things listed above.
- · We also need to live the life.
Faith is not a spectator pastime, we have to be living and doing.
I know many people who are going through severe trials, long trials. My husband and I have too, but it was in those trials that we learnt to hold on, and faith started to grow.
My husband’s favourite scripture…
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose. Rom 8: 28
That scripture has seen him through many trials and tests.
Be at peace,