Hebrews 11:2 AMP For by [faith – trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.
We can look at the lives of the men and women of old and see how they walked by faith and this scripture says that their tests turned into testimonies and they obtained a good report through it all! Wow, how I would love to have it said of me that I had a divine testimony borne out of my walk of faith and obtained a good report through it! I desire to please the Lord so my choice is to be a person of faith! How about you!
We can get an idea how the people of old walked by faith in looking at the ones identified in Hebrews chapter 11. Here’s how a few of the verses start in talking about these folks:
Hebrews 11:4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel…..
Hebrews 11:5 Because of faith Enoch…..
Hebrews 11:7 [Prompted] by faith Noah,…..
Hebrews 11:8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham,….
Hebrews 11:9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt…..
Hebrews 11:11 Because of faith also Sarah…..
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham,….
Hebrews 11:20 [With eyes of] faith Isaac,….
Hebrews 11:21 [Prompted] by faith Jacob,
Hebrews 11:22 [Actuated] by faith Joseph,….
Hebrews 11:23 [Prompted] by faith Moses,….
Hebrews 11:27 [Motivated by faith he left......
Hebrews 11:28 By faith (simple trust and confidence in God)....
Hebrews 11:29 [Urged on] by faith the people crossed……
Hebrews 11:30 Because of faith the walls……
Hebrews 11:31 [Prompted] by faith Rahab….
Hebrews 11:33 Who by [the help of] faith….
Do you see the correlation here that faith had in relation to their lives? All of them were moved by their faith. Faith is not a passive activity. Faith motivates and moves people to act. Faith is an action!
A couple of years ago at Christmas time when we were going to visit my son and his family that we were one our way to his house when I received a call from him asking me when we were expecting to arrive. It seems as though my little granddaughter had taken her grandma at her word when I said I would be there to see her because she was standing at the window looking out expecting me to arrive at any minute. My son said she had been standing there for quite some time in anticipation of seeing her Grandma! That’s faith in action! She believed what her grandma had said and so she placed her trust in me that I would keep my word and then she expectantly watched to see us pull into the driveway! Likewise, these folks of old did not wait to see God’s promises, but they received them as if they were already in manifestation.
Hebrews 11:13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having receive the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.
Please notice that they were controlled and sustained by their faith! They didn’t receive everything in manifestation that they were believing God for, but we know that they did receive some of those things, because Abraham and Sarah received the promise of Isaac. They didn’t stop believing when they didn’t receive the promise because they died still believing, still looking at the promise as if it were already in manifestation and confessing that they were just here temporarily, but willing to walk by faith in order to live a life pleasing to God. They didn’t allow their temporary citizenship to affect their walk of faith and they didn’t look back thinking about how good it was in the “old days” when they were in Egypt under bondage.
Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.
You know if you constantly think about the way things used to be, you will have every opportunity to go backwards! Faith moves forward! Faith sees the good out ahead and embraces it as if it were already here. Faith doesn’t talk about the problem, it talks about the solution. You can’t walk a straight line forward if you are constantly looking behind you! Faith says “I’ll let the past be the past because God’s got a great future ahead for me”!
Hebrews 11:16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.
Are you yearning for the promises of God to be manifest in your life? Or are you just halfheartedly believing that God will do the miraculous in you and for you? Do you aspire to a better life or are you satisfied with the way things are? These people didn’t take God’s word lightly; they believed Him; they trusted Him wholeheartedly and they followed Him to that better land! They lived controlled and sustained by faith!
James 2:17 So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
Faith by itself, if it doesn’t have action of obedience to back it up is dead! Faith and action, or works, go together like a hand inside of a glove.
James 2:21, 22 Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac? You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.
Abraham had to believe and trust God that He was able to bring Isaac back to life from the dead if he was obedient to offer him as a sacrifice to God. He trusted God and his faith moved him to obedience whereby God was pleased. God didn’t intend for him to sacrifice Isaac, but his faith was being tested to see if it was strong and if he would be obedient to what God was asking him to do.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham,when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God's] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.
Sometimes we won’t understand why God wants us to do something a certain way. Just like Abraham didn’t understand why God asked him to sacrifice his son. But he knew that God had promised to bring his descendants through Isaac and what God promises to do He fulfills! That faith in God moved Abraham to obey Him! He even saw Isaac already dead; it was that clear to him that God would fulfill His promise even if He had to raise Isaac from the dead. His faith enabled him to obey!
James 1:3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
Your faith is strengthened so you can go further with God through the endurance and patience of it’s testing. These people all endured trials to the greatest magnitude so their faith would be strengthened to sustain and control them until they could receive the promises of God. Some of them died still believing; still acting as if their promise was already in manifestation. But all of them pleased God with their faith! They all received a divine testimony and a good report!
Father, I thank You for being faithful to fulfill Your promises to Your people. May we be people of faith, believing You and acting on Your promises before we actually see them. Father, I pray for my friends, that You would encourage them and show them the promises that You have for them. Give them a vision, Lord, of what lies ahead of them; the good that You desire for them to have. Show them how to walk by faith, expecting to receive all that You have for them. Father, I pray that they may be strengthened by Your Spirit within so that they can endure the testing when it comes. May their faith be proven strong and steadfast, enduring to the end! Thank You, Father, for what You are doing in each one of us. May we please You by walking by faith each day of our lives! Thank You, Jesus, for lighting our way! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.