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Faith in Action (Hebrews 11:17-31)

Hebrews 11:17–31 - 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. What does today’s passage say? Today's passage shows us the true heart of faith by reminding us how the heroes of the faith from the Old Testament leaned into their trust in God, even when faced with the toughest decisions. We see Abraham, in a moment of ultimate faith, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac, believing in God's promise and provision (vv. 17-19). The, it is Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, who each, in their own time, blessed the next generations, anchoring their hopes not in the present but in God's unfolding plan (vv. 20-22). Moses' story is equally compelling; he chose hardship alongside his people over the fleeting comforts of Egyptian royalty, driven by a vision of a greater reward (vv. 23-26). His faith also led him to lead God’s people out of Egypt without fear of Pharaoh (vv. 27-28). Finally, we see Rahab's decision to shelter the spies, demonstrating how faith helps us in overcoming fear and stepping into the unknown (vv. 29-31). How can I apply Hebrews 11:17-31 to my life? Today’s passage details for us the steadfast faith of individuals who navigated through times of uncertainty and challenge with a profound trust in God. More than just describing the historical events, it urges us to cultivate a faith that does not waver, even in the face of the unknown. The individuals in these verses didn't simply hold religious beliefs; they lived them out boldly, embracing God's plans with a dynamic faith that drove them into actions that often ventured beyond the bounds of human logic. As we think about these verses, it is important that we see these narratives as more than something to be admired.  The writer invites us to see in them a reflection of the faith we are urged to live out in our own journeys. From Abraham's profound trust as he stood ready to offer Isaac, to Moses' choice to endure hardship alongside his people rather than enjoy the temporary indulgences of Pharaoh’s kingdom, and Rahab's welcoming of the spies, each narrative compels us to examine our own faith more deeply. We must ask ourselves where our allegiance truly lies and whether we truly trust in God's grand design with our whole hearts. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Trust in God's Promises, Even When the Path Seems Unclear (vv. 17-19): In Abraham's act of faith, when he prepared to offer Isaac, we see a profound trust in the Lord's promises, which appeared impossible from a human viewpoint. This narrative propels us toward a faith that does not waver, even when the end seems nowhere in sight. Our lives are often threaded with moments where what God asks of us does not align with what we can see or understand. Yet, this mismatch is the crux of faith: to trust in what God says over our perceptions or the immediate reality around us. It's about believing that for God, "impossible" is not in His dictionary, and He desires us to lean into this truth. Embracing this perspective enables us to tackle our challenges with boldness and anticipation, confident in the knowledge that God's intentions for us are for our ultimate good and His capabilities are boundless. As we embody this trust, we become beacons of faith, encouraging others to also lean not on their understanding but on the unfailing character of God (Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 19:26; Romans 4:20-21).

Food for Thought: How might I live out my trust in God's promises in my daily life, especially when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges? What practical steps can I take to bolster my faith when what I see does not align with what God has promised?

  1. Bless Future Generations Through Faith in God's Eternal Plan (vv. 20-22): Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph each demonstrated an extraordinary vision, focusing not on their present circumstances but on God’s grand design for the generations to come. This foresight invites us to consider how our faith journey might ripple outwards, impacting countless lives long after we’ve moved on. Imagine a legacy not measured by wealth or accolades but by the depth of faith we instill in others. Such a legacy ensures that the baton of belief is passed down through the ages, inspiring those who follow to also place their trust in God. It prompts us to pour into eternal investments—relationships, teachings, and actions—that bear fruit well beyond our time on earth. By aligning our lives with God’s eternal purposes, we craft a heritage that speaks not just of our faith but of the enduring faithfulness of God Himself. This commitment to future generations acts as a guiding star, leading us to make choices that echo in eternity (Psalm 102:18; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 12:1-2)

Food for Thought: What legacy of faith am I building for those who will come after me? How can I more intentionally invest in things that will carry eternal significance?

  1. Choose God's Reward Over Earthly Pleasures (vv. 23-26): Moses’ choice to forsake a life of comfort and power in Egypt, embracing instead the hardships alongside God's people, highlights the challenge we all face: the allure of immediate pleasure versus the enduring rewards found in faithfulness to God. In our daily lives, this contrast often manifests in the decisions we face, whether to indulge in the moment's temptations or to hold steadfast in our faith, aiming for a higher, more lasting joy. Such decisions are not manifestations of our momentary desires but are profound declarations of where we place our ultimate trust and what we truly value. Choosing to trust God’s promises and obeying Him requires a commitment that goes beyond the here and now, that sees beyond what is tangible to reach the eternal riches that come from walking in His ways. It's about choosing a path less traveled, one that might seem more challenging at first glance but leads to unparalleled fulfillment and peace. By prioritizing our relationship with God over the world's temporary offerings, we align ourselves with His purposes, finding contentment in His plans for our lives (Galatians 5:16-17; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Food for Thought: How can I practice prioritizing God's eternal promises over temporary worldly pleasures in my daily decisions? What helps me to keep my focus on God’s rewards when faced with tempting alternatives?

  1. Persevere in Faith, Seeing the Invisible God (vv. 27-31): Embarking from Egypt, Moses didn't let fear of the king deter him; his eyes were fixed on God, who is invisible. This act of faith is a powerful lesson for us, illustrating that true belief often involves stepping into the unknown with confidence in God, even when we cannot see Him. Faith, then, is not just about believing in God's existence; it's about trusting in His unseen guidance and provision every step of the way. It requires a boldness to move beyond our comfort zones, leaning into the certainty of God's promises rather than the visible circumstances that might cause us to doubt. This kind of perseverance transforms our walk with God, turning challenges into opportunities to deepen our reliance on Him. As we navigate life's uncertainties, keeping our focus on God—who though invisible, orchestrates our every step—empowers us to live courageously, anchored in the hope that what we're moving toward is far greater than what we leave behind (Joshua 1:9; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 1:8).

Food for Thought: How might I actively strengthen my faith in God's unseen presence, especially in moments when doubts arise? What are some concrete actions I can take to remind myself of God's faithfulness, particularly during tough times? Today, we have looked at the essence of faith as a lived-out experience, not merely a topic of discussion. Abraham's readiness to offer up Isaac, alongside Moses' decision to accept the hardships of God's people rather than indulge in temporary pleasures of Pharaoh’s kingdom, vividly illustrates the depth of trust that God wants each of us to have. These were not tales of easy decisions; they were moments of genuine risk, sacrifice, and faith amidst uncertainty. The common thread weaving through each account is a steadfast belief in the value of God's promises, regardless of the cost.  These verses call on us to examine our personal walk of faith. Are we ready to endure, keeping our focus steadfastly on Him, through times when our path seems veiled in shadow? Rather than fault us for our shortcomings, they encourage us by making it clear that our faith is bolstered with every step of trust and decision. In fact, our faith is more about whom we are following than merely our destination. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would build in me an unwavering faith like Abraham, who trusted Your promises against all odds. Help me to have the courage of Moses who chose Your way of hardship and suffering instead of easy and wealthy life of Pharaoh’s kingdom.  I Pray that You would give me the strength to persevere in in my faith, even when I cannot fully see or understand Your will for my life.  I pray that I would simply trust that You will guide me each step of the way. I pray that You would show me how to live out my faith daily, making choices that honor You and demonstrate my trust in Your promises and that You would never let me forget that true faith involves transformation and action. I pray that You would help me to act in faith even when it is hard. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Hebrews 11:27 - "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen." With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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