The Great Faith
1Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. 2 It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.
3 Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.
4 Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him.
5 Enoch had faith and did not die. He pleased God, and God took him up to heaven. This is why his body was never found. 6But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and rewards everyone who searches for him.
7 Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God.
With today’s reading we begin an examination of the Bible’s great chapter on faith. The author of Hebrews begins with a definition of faith. This is followed by the first installment of a gallery of heroic Old Testament believers who by their example showed us how to put our faith into action – how to live by faith.
There are three components to faith which we find in the writer’s definition of faith. Those components are certainty, hope and proof. “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see” (v 1).
Faith moves the believer beyond hope by making us sure or certain that what we hope for will become reality. Faith provides proof. It gives us proof of what we cannot see. True faith according to this definition is more than wishful thinking. It rests on evidence – proof of a reality that may not be evident to others, but is clearly perceived by the believer.
It is this kind of faith that pleases God. “But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him” (v 6).
The great heroes of the faith saw and heard things that others did not perceive. Enoch walked with a God that no one else saw. Noah heard the voice of God, and he took to heart the Lord’s warning though the world around him mocked his efforts.
Are we hearing and obeying God’s voice in a hostile world? Have we tuned our hearts to a different frequency – a frequency that detects the voice of God?
Lord God, increase my faith. I want to hear your voice speaking to me. I seek after you. Prove yourself to be real to me today. I want to move beyond hope to a deep conviction of your reality in my life. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.