Tag Archives: Hebrews 11

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 49/260: Rahab

Read Joshua 2:1-24; 6:15-25; Hebrews 11:31

The Faith of a Harlot

There are certain occupations that carry with them a social stigma. Perhaps no career is seen in a poorer light than that of a prostitute. And yet the Scriptures show how powerful the one, true God of heaven is, saving even those that many times we would shun and from whom we would divert our eyes.

It is not Rahab’s occupation that makes her faithful, nor her lies to the men sent by the king of Jericho, but her belief that God really is God, and that He really is blessing Israel. She had no reason to believe such things except by word-of-mouth. Yet, forty years after the Red Sea crossing, the truth of God’s power persisted, so potent that even a harlot believed the fantastic stories.

When she spoke to the spies, she said, “I know that the Lord has given you the land” (Joshua 2:9). There was no doubt in this woman’s mind that Jericho was doomed. Why? Because of what God had already done for them. “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed” (Joshua 2:10). Her entire family was convinced that Israel would overtake Jericho, as Rahab said, “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted” (Joshua 2:11). The power of the Lord was real and the destruction of Jericho was inevitable.

However, Rahab did not resign herself to her own destruction. She begged for mercy from the spies, helping them and hiding them. Could they be trusted? If they lied to her, she would be destroyed. Yet, if she had not helped them, she knew that she would be destroyed when Israel came to take the land. She had nothing to lose.

In her faith, Rahab overcame sin. There is no record of her continuing her former occupation after her salvation. In fact, she became the great-great-grandmother of the future king of Israel, David, and a part of the lineage of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. God doesn’t hold our past against us when we repent; instead, despite our past, He uses us to accomplish His will.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 41/260: Moses

Read Exodus 11-12; Hebrews 11:28

The Passover

The tenth plague levied against the wickedness of Egypt was the death of the firstborn—not only of the Egyptians, but of their servants and even of their animals. The Israelites could escape the destroyer that struck down the firstborn by following the instructions given by God through Moses. It was the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the doorposts and lintel of the houses that would cause the plague to pass over the dwelling places of the children of Israel.

Likewise today, it is the blood of the sacrificed Lamb of God that causes the plague of eternal destruction to pass over those who are in Christ. The Passover lamb was a type of Christ, as there is no salvation for anyone apart from His blood. Just as the Passover lamb was innocent and without blemish, so was Jesus. Just as the Passover lamb suffered for the guilty, so did Jesus. Just as the Passover lamb was submissive and uncomplaining in death, so was Jesus. There was not a bone broken in the Passover lamb; neither was there a bone broken in the Christ on the cross. There are so many similarities between the Passover lamb of Israel and the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Moses faithfully relayed God’s instructions to the children of Israel to protect them from the plague to come. Thus the Hebrews writer said, “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them” (Hebrews 11:28). Had Moses left any part of it unsaid, or the Israelites had left any part of it undone, they could not have been saved.

Likewise today, no part of the gospel can be left unsaid or undone. Just as Paul declared “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), and the local congregations to whom he ministered “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), we must follow their example in this day and age.

May we all believe the words of Jesus, understanding that they are the very words by which we will be judged (John 12:48). May we repent of our sins, confess the name of Jesus, and humbly submit to His command to be baptized for the remission of sins! In so doing, we will come into contact with His saving blood and secure the hope of heaven.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 36/260: Jochebed

Read Exodus 1:1-2:10; 6:20; Hebrews 11:23

A Mother’s Love

Imagine a governmental decree stating that all male infants were to be put to death by throwing them into the river. If you were an expecting parent, how much anxiety would you feel at the mention of such a law?

This is not a made-up story. It really happened. The population of the Hebrew nation in Egypt was so large that the Pharaoh feared their size. This was a different Pharaoh than the one who trusted Joseph in the book of Genesis. This new Pharaoh issued this command to the Hebrew people: “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22).

There was a woman named Jochebed who married Amram, and she had two sons: Aaron and Moses. When she bore Moses, she was able to keep him hidden for three months, but it became more and more difficult. The Hebrews writer reveals that Moses’ parents possessed such a faith that “they were not afraid of the king’s command” (Hebrews 11:23).

Jochebed made a small basket and put Moses in it, and put him among the reeds in the riverbank. His sister stood watch as Pharaoh’s daughter found the child and had compassion upon him.

Moses’ sister suggested that she employ one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for her, and Jochebed was hired for the task. Moses received the education of his people from his biological father and mother, and an Egyptian education as he was seen by Pharaoh’s daughter as her own son.

Is your faith so strong that you could resist the government’s demands, knowing that death surely awaited you if you were caught in defiance? Would your love be strong enough for your child that you would sacrifice your own for the slightest chance that he might live? Many would answer yes to these questions, yet in our society today we see so many that are leading their children to eternal punishment by neglecting to instill God’s spiritual instructions in them.

The Proverbs have much to say about the proper spiritual training of a child. Paul commended the upbringing of the young evangelist Timothy, thanking God for Timothy’s grandmother and mother who ensured that “from childhood you (Timothy) have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15). What are you teaching your children?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 25/260: Isaac

Read Genesis 27:1-40; 28:1-5; Hebrews 11:20

Your Words Mean Something

Advanced in age and unable to see, Isaac blessed the wrong son. Jacob deceived his father and received the blessing of the firstborn, while Esau was relegated to a life of service to Jacob. Esau, as the older twin, should have received that blessing. Rather than take it back from Jacob after learning of the deception, however, Isaac reaffirmed it in Genesis 28:3-4: “May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.”

Be careful what you say. Be sure you are saying the right thing to the right person at the right time, or you may end up in a situation that puts you at a disadvantage. However, even if you rashly say something, be sure to keep your word, because your words mean something.

Consider the words of inspiration found in Ecclesiastes 5:2-5, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his may words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”

As Christians, we should not even have to make a vow; our integrity should be such that when we say something, people will believe it whether we use the word “promise” or not. In fact, Jesus said, Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37).

Your words mean something. So say what you mean, and mean what you say!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 22/260: Abraham

Read Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:17-19

Faith in the Lord’s Provision

The faith of Abraham was never more fully realized than when God commanded him to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Isaac was the child of promise; God said that He would “establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19), and that “in Isaac your seed shall be called” (Genesis 21:12). How could this be accomplished, if Abraham sacrificed Isaac as a burnt offering?

Abraham had faith in the provision of the Lord. Isaac was not dense; he realized there was something missing when he and his father went to worship. When Isaac questioned his father about the absence of a sacrificial lamb, Abraham told him, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). And indeed, as Abraham prepared to slay the only child born to Sarah, the child through whom God’s blessing would be achieved, he was stopped and God provided a ram for the offering in Isaac’s stead.

We get a fuller understanding of Abraham’s faith in the New Testament. The Hebrews writer tells us that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, “concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Heb. 11:19). Abraham knew that obedience to God was not only important but necessary, and if God commanded something, it should be done without hesitation and He would take care of those who were faithfully obedient. Abraham understood the purpose of man long before the inspired preacher wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13; cf. Gen. 22:12).

Abraham memorialized the place where God spared Isaac, calling it “Jehovah-jireh” (Genesis 22:14 KJV). Most modern translations render that phrase, “The Lord Will Provide.” Do you believe that? He will, if we “fear God and keep His commandments.”

Have you done the things that Lord has commanded in his new covenant with man? The covenant He established with Israel, the Law of Moses, has been nailed to the cross. Today, we are commanded to repent of our sins (Acts 3:19). We are commanded to confess our belief in Christ (Romans 10:9-10). We are commanded to be immersed to have our sins washed away (Acts 22:16). We are commanded to live faithfully for Him, “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). What is stopping you from full obedience to His Word?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 16/260: Abram

Read Genesis 12:1-9; Hebrews 11:8

If God Says It, Do It

God does not speak directly to us today like He did in the age of the patriarchs…but what if He did? What if He said to you, “Leave everything and everyone you know and go to a strange place.” Would you obey without hesitation? In a hypothetical situation, it is easy to say that we would obey. But in reality, there would likely be some trepidation at such a request.

Abram is the man who we later come to know as Abraham. He showed no hesitation in following God’s directive. God said, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). The Scriptures do not indicate any argument from Abram. Inspiration simply says, “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him” (Genesis 12:4). How did this man so readily accept what the Lord had spoken?

The answer to that question is revealed in Hebrews 11:8. “By faith.” Abram trusted that God would accomplish what He willed and that He would protect his followers. So without any debate with Deity, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” There was no question in Abram’s mind but that God would do what God said He would do.

God promised to bless Abram, to bless those who blessed Abram, and to bless all the families of the earth in Abram. God led Abram to the land of Canaan, a land that was inhabited, and said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). The thing is, Abram did not have any descendants at this time. He was seventy-five years old (Genesis 12:4), and his wife Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30).

Still, the Scriptures do not indicate any doubt in the mind of Abram. Instead of questioning what God had just said, Abram built an altar there. Then Abram continued on, as the land was not yet his, and built another altar. His faith did not waver; Abram trusted the Lord. He had the attitude, “If God says it, do it.”

Do we display that same attitude in our lives today?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 8/260: Noah

Read Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:18-22

Faithful Obedience

Noah believed God, and Noah’s belief motivated him to obey God. Isn’t that how true faith works? The Hebrews writer says that Noah was “moved with godly fear” because of his faith. Moved to do what? He “prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” Belief in what God had told him was not enough; Noah had to act upon the information he received from the Lord.

Remember what the last verse of Genesis 6 says? “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22). He was not a man who subscribed to the false doctrine of “faith alone.” Rather, Noah acted upon his faith. “Thus Noah did.”

The flood and baptism have a type/antitype relationship. The flood was a foreshadowing of the command to be baptized issued by Christ, a command that we are responsible to obey today. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believed will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Peter answered the Jews’ question about their spiritual condition in this way: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

A person must obey the commands of the Lord in order to be saved by the Lord. This is not earning salvation – not by any stretch of the imagination! Rather, it is “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). We cannot ignore the words of Jesus Himself and expect Him to save us anyway. We must obey – by faith!

To deny that baptism has anything to do with salvation is to ignore what Jesus and His inspired apostles taught. Peter clearly states that baptism, the antitype of the floodwaters, “now saves us” (1 Peter 3:21). He taught that it was to be done “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Jesus said that one who “will be saved” is one “who believes and is baptized” (Mark 16:16). In each instance, baptism is directly linked to salvation and baptism is placed before salvation.

Noah did not live by “faith alone.” He lived a life of faithful obedience to the commands of God. Can you say the same?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 3/260: Enoch

Read Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5

Walking with God

There is very little written about Enoch in the inspired record, but that which is said speaks volumes of the man’s character. He was the father of the oldest man on record (Methuselah, 969 years old), who was born when Enoch was 65. Moses says, “After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22). Nothing is said of his relationship with God prior to Methuselah’s birth.

Perhaps fatherhood caused Enoch to take stock of his life. Perhaps he had been heading down the wrong path, and he suddenly realized the importance his influence might have on his children. Perhaps he finally matured, finally grew up, finally became a man.

Fathers have a great obligation when it comes to their children. The apostle Paul exhorted the dads in Ephesus, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The father, as the spiritual head of the household, should set rules and boundaries that protect and encourage his children to be faithful to God. Show respect to the revealed Word, not only with your words, but with your behavior. When one says one thing and does the opposite, trust can be destroyed. Hypocrisy will do to children exactly what Paul warns against: it will “provoke your children to wrath.”

Whatever his life was before he became Methuselah’s dad, Enoch spent his final three hundred years on this earth as a man of faith. Moses says that “Enoch walked with God three hundred years” and, as a result, “God took him” (Genesis 5:22,24). The Hebrews writer says it more explicitly: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

Are you walking with God? Are you pleasing Him?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 2/260: Abel

Read Genesis 4:6-10; 1 John 3:10-12

Persecution of the Righteous

How do others react when you set your sights on doing what the Lord commands without addition, subtraction, or substitution? There will be those who support you in your efforts to live righteously, and thank God for good friends such as those! Sadly, there will be others who try to derail you and lead you away from the old paths revealed in the Scriptures.

Still others will stand against you, reject you, and persecute you. Is this not what happened to Abel? There is no record of any strife between Cain and Abel before their offering to the Lord. Cain became angry because Abel listened to God, and Cain murdered his brother simply because Abel was trying to do what was right in God’s sight.

The apostle John compared Cain to one who “does not practice righteousness,” therefore “is not of God.” He plainly wrote by inspiration that Cain “was of the wicked one and murdered his brother…(b)ecause his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” Yes, there will be people who want to do you harm simply because you want the best for them!

The Messiah Himself declared, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

How do we react when we are thus persecuted? Look to the example of the apostles in Acts 5:41: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Our reaction to negative situations will speak volumes of our faith. We must withstand the hatred, embrace the mockery, and in our continued righteous living, glorify the Lord of love.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 1/260: Abel

Read Genesis 4:1-5; Hebrews 11:4

Living By Faith

Moses records for us the account of Cain and Abel’s offerings to the Lord in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Cain is identified in the Scriptures as “a tiller of the ground,” while his younger brother Abel “was a keeper of sheep.” When the time came for an offering, they each brought a portion of their labors; Cain brought crops, while Abel brought livestock. Cain’s offering was rejected but Abel’s was accepted.

The Hebrews writer sheds some light on the reason Abel’s offering was accepted by God. “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).

Abel’s offering was made “by faith.” What does that mean? Where does one get faith? Some will tell you that faith itself is a gift from God based on a misunderstanding of Ephesians 2:8-9. That passage does not teach that faith is a gift; rather, the gift is the salvation we receive “by grace” and “through faith.” The question remains, then, where does one get faith?

In Romans 10:17, the apostle Paul wrote, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Abel heard what God wanted, and he faithfully submitted to God’s will. God is explicit with His expectations in His Word, and only those who obey His Word are living by faith.

By contrast, Cain’s offering was rejected because it was not offered by faith. He received the same information his brother received, but decided to go his own way. As a result, God “did not respect Cain and his offering.” When we defy God’s explicit commands, we displease Him.

Are you living by faith? Or have you ignored God’s will?

This is the first in a planned series of 260 devotional articles to be published each Monday through Friday, concluding on December 31, 2021. These articles will be collected into paperback and Kindle form by the end of the year so you can purchase and share with your friends. Last year’s daily devotional series, Monday through Friday in the New Testament is now available for purchase on Amazon.