We are called to be women of faith. We are called to live by faith.
In the last post, we talked about faith, and looked at some verses from Hebrews 11 and discovered 4 characteristics of a woman of faith. In this post, we’re going to continue talking about faith from Hebrews 11.
Most of Hebrews 11 talks about the heroes of faith, and describes the actions they took by faith. Noah building the ark. Abraham leaving his homeland and having a son even though he was old and his wife was barren. Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The Israelites passing through the Red Sea on day land. Rahab hiding the spies. The walls of Jericho falling after the Israelites marched around them for seven days. And many more are mentioned for their faith in God: Joseph, Gideon, Samson, David, the prophets.
By faith, mouths of lions were shut, weakness was turned to strength, the dead were raised to life, persecution and torture and prison were faced.
Many people over many years who lived trusting God and obeying Him, even to the point of dying for their faith, all examples for us today. And maybe you can even think of people in your own life today whose faith you admire and is an example to you.
We find the stories of the people talked about in Hebrews 11 in the Old Testament of the Scriptures. Those who the letter of Hebrews was written to would have known the stories. In those stories, we see that these people went through hard times. Their lives weren’t perfect. They weren’t perfect. They had faults and flaws and failings.
Noah made a foolish decision and a fool of himself. Abraham and Sarah tried to take matters into their own hands to have the son God promised, instead of trusting God’s timing, and whole of of trouble resulted. Moses disobeyed God and wasn’t able to enter the promised land. The Israelites went through many periods of complaining and disobeying. Rahab was a prostitute. Gideon was afraid. David slept with another man’s wife, and then had that man killed.
No, these people weren’t perfect. But it wasn’t their perfection they were commended for. It was their faith. Faith isn’t about what we do; it’s trusting God to do what He says He will do and following where He leads. When we put our faith in God, He redeems our faults and flaws and failings. He is able to work all things for good. (Romans 8:28)
Each of us, with all our brokenness and messiness, can have faith. We don’t have to be perfect, never making a mistake, to live by faith. The wrong choices and actions, the faults and failings, didn’t stop Abraham from receiving his promised son, didn’t stop Moses from giving God’s law to His people, didn’t stop Gideon from becoming a mighty warrior, didn’t stop Rahab from doing what was right and finding a new home, didn’t stop David from being called a man after God’s own heart, because they didn’t stop God from continuing to work in their lives. He is bigger and more powerful than our sin, and He can always redeem.
As we place our faith in Him, in the work He did in sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, He continues to work in us.
Faith in God results in obedience to God. Those named in Hebrews 11 weren’t commended simply for having faith, but for living by faith. In placing their faith in God, they were obedient to God.
Again, they messed up along the way. There were times of disobedience. But God, in His mercy and grace, kept drawing them back to Himself; kept giving second chances and opportunities for repentance.
A life of faith is a life of obedience to God, and repentance when we are disobedient. It is following His commands and direction even when it is scary, hard, uncomfortable, or inconvenient, because we are trusting God to be with us, to protect and provide, and to be faithful to keep His promises.
It is not by obeying God, by legalistically following rules and doing good works, that we are saved and have relationship with Him. That would mean salvation is based on what we do rather than on what Jesus has done in sacrificing Himself for us. But because we are saved by faith in Jesus and have relationship with God, we obey Him. We desire to serve Him and live as He commands because of His love for us and our love for Him.
God gives His commands and directions to us for us to obey, not so we will be slaves or robots or burdened under cumbersome duty, but to lead us ever closer to His heart. To allow us to experience His goodness and grace and love and mercy and peace and joy and power and Himself. To give us opportunity to share who He is with the world around us.
Those heroes of faith, they didn’t receive what was promised. Yes, they received promised sons, and the promised land, and promised freedom, all promises that pointed to the ultimate promise: the Messiah. God promised to send the Messiah, who we know as His Son Jesus Christ.
These people lived by faith, but they didn’t see this promise fulfilled in their lifetime.
While they didn’t see the coming of the promised Messiah, their living by faith in obedience to God was a foreshadowing of the Messiah, a reflection of Jesus. They took part in the covenant of God and in His redemption plan for all people. There very lives pointed to the promise: Jesus.
When we live by faith in obedience to God, we reflect Jesus. We take part in the covenant of God and in sharing the Gospel of His redemption with those around us. Our lives pointing to the promises of God; His promises of joy, peace, being with us, power, provision, love, and protection. Our lives pointing to Jesus.