Summary: I/we tend to want to see God's direction clearly. Sometimes he grants that; usually, he doesn't. What he wants from us is the faith to continue on with him even when we don't see where we're going.
1. Trust or Clarity?
Ethicist John Kavanaugh went to Calcutta, India to work at “the house for the dying” for three with Mother Teresa. This was part of a sincere search for personal direction in his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa and she asked him what she could do for him.
Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” She asked. He responded by explaining that he had traveled thousands of miles from the US to find direction. He then told her, “Pray that I have clarity.”
She responded firmly to his request, “No, I will not do that. Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” Kavanaugh replied that she appeared to always have clarity about what she was doing and he longed for that kind of clarity in his life. She laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So, I will pray that you trust God.”
2. Isn’t it funny how often we want to understand what God is doing in our lives? We will go to the ends of the earth in order to observe someone who is giving their lives to God in an effort to learn their secret.
3. Walking with God is not a formula of success; it is a journey of faith and trust.
• Definition of Faith – Hebrews 11.1-3, 6
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
• We read the bible and say, “When I understand, I will obey.” [i.e., Show me and I will believe.
• God says, “Trust and Obey and I will show you.” [i.e., Believe and I will show you.
o Hebrews at Sinai – Exodus 19.8 – All that the LORD has spoken we will do. That is, we will do and we will hear.
4. 2 Corinthians 5.6-10
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
5. Hebrews 11 is called the “Faith Chapter” or “Hall of Faith” NOT the “Understanding Chapter” or the “Hall of Understanding” – consider the faith walk of some faith giants:
I. Faith Helps Us Give In with Noah – Hebrews 11.7
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
A. No Evidence of Rain, Only the Word of God to a Specific Person, Noah – Genesis 6.8-10
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
B. Noah Gave In to What God Said – By Faith – Genesis 7.5
5 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.
1. There are times when we act on what God says
2. We don’t see clearly but by faith
Luke 6.27-29 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
II. Faith Helps Us Give Up with Abraham – Hebrews 11.8-10
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.