Ezekiel 25:12-26:21; Hebrews 11:8-16; Psalms 109:1-21; Proverbs 24:1-2
NT: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. Therefore, from one man — in fact, from one as good as dead — came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore. These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place — a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:8-16 CSB)
As a point of context, the book of Hebrews was written to a community of Jewish believers who were considering (because of the hardships and persecution they were experiencing) leaving and renouncing their faith in Jesus Christ and going back to Judaism. The writer of Hebrews made the case that if they truly identified with Abraham (their father in the faith), they would not go back, but would continue moving forward by faith.
When God spoke to Abraham and told him to leave his home behind and travel to a land he didn’t know, there were plenty of reasons for Abraham to ignore the words of God and stay where he was comfortable. However, Abraham did not do that. He was literally moved by faith. By faith in the word of God and the God of the word, Abraham left behind all that was comfortable in order to move forward with God and lay hold of God’s promises.
God spoke to Abraham and told him that through Sarah, Abraham would have descendants that were as numerous as the stars. By sight, that word was impossible. Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah (nearly the same age) was well past child-bearing age. Yet, they had faith in the word of God and the God of the word. They didn’t give up on God and go backwards. They moved forward, and by faith a nation was born out of an elderly woman and a man “as good as dead.”
Abraham and Sarah… and even Isaac and Jacob who came after them, all died before fully realizing the promises of God, but nevertheless they died in faith, seeing by faith what had not yet happened. Abraham and Sarah were able to live in the future tense because faith was the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. They didn’t keep thinking of where they came from – they kept their mind on what was generations ahead. The Children of Israel who were delivered from Egypt kept looking back to Egypt instead of looking forward to the promised land. That led them to unbelief and disobedience – which ultimately kept them out of God’s promise. Only Joshua an Caleb were able to see forward by faith, and because of their faith, they entered the promised land.
For me personally, there are things that God has spoken to me over the years that I haven’t seen fulfilled. He has given me visions of a future that has not come to fruition. Do I get frustrated by the perceived lack of progress and revert back to what is comfortable… to what I can accomplish immediately in my own strength? Or do I keep moving forward and seeing a fulfilled future (even though I may not see it with my physical eyes) by faith? For those who keep looking and moving forward by faith, God is not ashamed to be called their God – for by their faith, He is pleased. May this be said of me, “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into promise.”
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You are faithful to Your word, and by faith, You give me the ability to see what is unseen and have assurance for what lies ahead. Help me to not merely walk by sight, but to continue moving forward with You by faith. It is only by You that the promises You have given me will come to fruition. Therefore, I don’t look back and don’t look to my own hand, but keep looking forward to You by faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.