Hebrews 11-13

Faith In…

By now in this study of Hebrews, we should understand that salvation is by faith. But faith in whom or what is the question. For the Hebrew people this is the issue they were struggling with when they made the covenant with God to be His people and make Him their God. They were putting their faith in God as He revealed Himself to them through the Word of God that He gave them. The Word of God pointed to the Savior to come. Even Moses said one day there would be another prophet like Moses who would come and the people would listen to Him. Deuteronomy 18:15.

The Law and the Prophets all point to the coming of the Messiah.

The religious rulers knew the prophet Moses spoke of was the Messiah and were watching for His coming. They thought John the Baptist might be him but John said he was not the one but did point out Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:19-34

But the religious rulers rejected Jesus as the Messiah and plotted His death instead. This turn of events played into God’s plan when Jesus was crucified. Truly, He was the Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.

As the good news about Christ Jesus was proclaimed, many Hebrew people put their faith in Him and became Christians. The religious rulers doubled down and started to persecute these believers. The believers found themselves outside the boundaries of the prevailing culture. This is often the case with the people who choose to follow God and trust in His Word. In Hebrews 11 we see that this had been the case since the beginning of time. The same is true for Christians today. At the very least Christians are mocked by the mainstream culture because of what we believe. In some countries Christians are persecuted or killed. Chapter 11 is meant to remind us that others went through the same things Christians face today. Their lives are a testimony to us of what it means to live by faith in God. But more importantly, we are to fix our eyes on the One who suffered and died for us as we read in Chapter 12. We need to realize that as we persevere by faith in our Lord through trials and difficulties our faith is actually growing stronger. Romans 5:1-11; James 1; 1 Peter 1; 2 Peter 1

The testimony of the faithfulness of those in Chapter 11 is contrasted in 12:16 in the mention of Esau.  In Malachi 1:3 we read that God hated Esau. Why? That seems so harsh. I think in this verse we see why. Esau gave up his God given birthright for a bowl of lentil soup because he was hungry. He had no value for the things of God. Satisfying the discomfort of his hunger was all that was important to him. Later he cried but he took no action to repent.  This begs the question, how is God going to feel about a person who places no value in the suffering of God’s Son on the cross for our sin by quickly abandoning their faith when trouble or persecution comes upon them? 

Starting in 12:7 we read how God uses trials and difficulties to strengthen our faith and how we are to relate to others. Chapters 12 and 13 read like a faith strengthening exercise plan for Christians.  It is clear we are not alone in this. We have God on our side and we have each other. We have the examples of those who have gone before us and those who are dealing with trials and difficulties presently.  May we be encouraged and encouragers to others so that our faith and the  faith of other Christians will remain strong in our Lord Jesus who paid the price for our sin and in whom we have eternal life!

Pastor Dave