1. In what ways do you see your heart drawn away from heaven to the things of earth?
2. Does the promise of heaven and the faithfulness of God give you the courage to live differently in this world? How?
3. How does the faithfulness of Abraham and the others mentioned in Hebrews 11 give you hope and encouragement in your current situation?
Scripture: Hebrews 11: 8-22
I. Faith trusts God for the future even though it does not see the end from the beginning.
A. Hebrews 11:8: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going.” The writer of Hebrews is reflecting on what happened in Genesis 12:1: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’” Abraham had faith that God would give him a land to inherit. He trusted God would keep His promise. So, he immediately obeyed.
B. If I had received this command from God, perhaps I’d say, “God, are you sure about this? It’s one thing to ask me to leave behind everything that I love. But I can’t see the end from the beginning in this adventure. I don’t even know where I’m going. Can’t you give me just a few details about this land you’re giving me?” That was not Abraham. Abraham trusted God. Abraham had faith that God had a good future in store for him even though Abraham did not see the end from the beginning as he left his home and family.
II. Faith trusts God for the future even if you lose the comfort and security of this world.
A. Abraham and Sarah did not die angry with God (vs. 13). They were not frustrated and doubtful that God would keep His promises even though they only had one descendant when they died and even though they did not possess the land of Canaan. They instead recognized that the complete realization of the promises was far away in the future. God was still faithful. They knew God’s promises would eventually come to pass. They took the long view that said that God is always faithful to His word.
B. Some of the Jewish readers of Hebrews thought, “I am really homesick. Let’s go back home to the Jewish faith.” These readers wanted to enjoy the comfort and security of this world that they enjoyed as Jews. And that’s when the author of Hebrews reminded the readers of the future-looking faith of Abraham and his family. They looked ahead to the future. We find out why they looked forward in vs. 16: “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
III. Faith trusts God for the future even in death.
A. Verses 17-19 tell us a story of a near death experience in Abraham’s life. How did Abraham obey God when God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice? We find the answer in verse 19, “He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Abraham was convinced that if he sacrificed Isaac, God would raise Isaac from the dead and fulfill his promises through a miracle. In verses 20-22 we look at what happened to Abraham and Sarah’s descendants Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and how they blessed their families on their deathbeds. Joseph had faith – a faith that trusted God for the future. Joseph’s faith said loud and clear: “Egypt is not my home. The promised land of Canaan is my home.” And you still have a future. God will keep His promises to you.
Look forward to your future. Keep your faith in Christ and His promises.
The letter to the Hebrews
Commentaries on Hebrews by Thomas Schreiner and Raymond Brown
Bible study by Michael Kruger