Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Hebrews 11:7-9
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 11:7
Verse 7: Faith sees the unseen spiritual world and those future events which God chooses to reveal. An example of someone who responded in faith to God’s warning concerning a future event is Noah. He diligently took hold of what God showed him and spent 100 years (Ge 5:32; 7:6) building an enormous boat though there was no physical proof a flood was coming. Because God had shown him “things not yet seen” he diligently kept at his work, and in doing so, became a prophetic warning to his generation. The ark testified that God intended to destroy that hopelessly wicked society (Ge 6:5-7, 11-13). Unbelievers were given 100 years to watch the construction of that huge boat and to listen to Noah’s explanation of why he was building it, yet no one repented.

Monday: Hebrews 11:7
Verse 7 (continued): The ark also served as a means of salvation for Noah’s household. By entering it they survived a year-long flood which was so deep it even covered the mountains (Ge 7:6; 8:13). Until the flood arrived Noah’s persistent labor looked foolish, but that patient obedience proved to be the kind of faith which God rewards with the gift of righteousness. To be “righteous” means God freely forgives a person’s sins and welcomes them into His presence. Notice that Noah is also called an “heir” of this righteousness which emphasizes the fact that he did not earn it but rather “inherited” it as a gift from God. The word also reveals that God adopted him as a son (Ro 8:16, 17; Ga 3:29; 4:7).

Tuesday: Hebrews 11:7
Verse 7 (continued): As we proceed through this chapter we’ll observe that each of the men and women listed here heard God speak something to them about the future and then trusted Him to do what He said. The circumstances surrounding their lives differed. God’s word to each differed according to His particular plan for them. But in every case that person responded by acting in faith. All submitted to Him, all obeyed Him and all suffered some sort of opposition for it. And as a result all pleased Him and were given the gift of righteousness. Though the new covenant was not available until Christ (Lk 22:20; Heb 8:8-13) we should take note that these Old Testament saints were nonetheless declared to be righteous. This tells us that the key element God looks for in a person’s heart is genuine faith and when He finds it He forgives their sins and grants them eternal life. Of course these Old Testament saints were totally dependant on the work of Christ for their salvation, just as we are, but this chapter makes it plain that the cross of Christ extends backward in time to rescue those with faith, just as it extends forward in time to us now. We who live today have much more information than they concerning Christ, but it’s to faith that God gives righteousness, not knowledge.

Wednesday: Hebrews 11:7
Verse 7 (continued): That this is the case is proven by the fact that Paul teaches salvation by faith using the example of Abraham whose faith was focused on God’s promise that a nation would come forth from him (Ge 15:1-6; Ro 4:1-25; Ga 3:6-9). Paul repeatedly stresses that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Ro 4:3, 9, 22; Ga 3:6). In fact, he calls him “the father of all who believe…” (Ro 4:11; Ga 3:7). There is no question he is saying father Abraham models the kind of faith that saves you. And what the author of Hebrews offers here in chapter 11 are many more models of people who were likewise saved by faith. Not surprisingly he will now focus his attention on Abraham (vs 8-19).

Thursday: Hebrews 11:8
Verse 8: As he reviews Abraham’s faith the author points to four distinct acts of obedience. The first was obeying God’s command to “go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you” (Ge 12:1). God critically spoke this to him while he was still living in southern Mesopotamia (Ac 7:2-5). In time he and his father Terah left Ur of the Chaldeans with the intention of entering the land of Canaan, but after traveling about half the distance they settled in what is now northern Syria. Following his father’s death, Abraham finished the journey arriving with no idea of where he was to live. Only then did God finally confirm that this was the land He intended to give his descendants as a national homeland (Ge 12:7).

Friday: Hebrews 11:8
Verse 8 (continued): Leaving the security of familiar surroundings and wandering into unknown regions was a great step of faith, but Abraham was so certain God would fulfill His promise that he set out on a risky journey to pursue it. Though he loved his family he was willing to leave them and neither his need for security nor their approval held him back. So again his example provided a model the author of Hebrews wanted to use to encourage his readers. Many of them had been forced from their homes and ostracized from family because of their faith. For them accepting the gospel had meant becoming homeless and lonely, so remembering what Abraham had to endure for his faith helped them to see their own circumstances in a new light. They were following in the painful footsteps of their patriarch. Faith had also cost him his home and family.

Saturday: Hebrews 11:9
Verse 9: Though Abraham arrived in the promised land he never actually owned any of it. The area had long before been claimed and settled by Canaanite tribes (Ge 15:18-21) so he was reduced to living as a nomad, dwelling in tents rather than building a city. And that nomadic status didn’t change for his son or his grandson. In fact, it didn’t change for over 600 years. This meant he had to keep trusting God though he never saw that promise fulfilled during his lifetime. When Sarah died he was forced to buy a small field with an adjacent cave so he could bury her (Ge 23:17-20). Once again the author must have wanted his readers to compare their own situation to that of Abraham’s. By the time this letter was written, at least two or three decades had passed since Jesus ascended into heaven; and yet, He still had not returned to set up His kingdom. They too were being challenged to wait patiently for God’s promise and might die before it was fulfilled. They too might spend the rest of their lives living as aliens in a world Jesus had promised that they would someday possess (Mt 19:28-30). But if that kind of faith made their patriarch righteous, then it would make them righteous as well.
 


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