Summary: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all held fast their profession until the very end.
The theme of Hebrews is perseverance. If that seems redundant in our study just consider how often it comes up in the rest of Scripture: Romans 13:12; I Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14; II Timothy 4:7; Luke 9:62; Romans 12:12; Galatians 6:9; Matthew 24:13; II Thessalonians 4:7-8; Revelation 3:11; Colossians 1:23.
Think also about all the times our waiting on the Lord is likened to a soldier in battle or a runner in a race or a farmer in a field. This is exactly what these persecuted Hebrews need to hear: “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD” (Ps. 31:24). How refreshing this must have been for them to be reminded that God loved them and would never leave them. He has promised to give us victory and a crown; He has promised to give the laborer His fruit.
This profession of ours is by faith (Heb. 11:1) and every person before us was saved the same way. They all died waiting and so might we, but we never give up:
17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Abraham was able to add up the facts: God made a promise He couldn’t keep if Isaac died before having children. Therefore God would have to raise Isaac from the dead. His seed could not be in the work of his own flesh; it must be a gift from God according to the promise.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
Read Genesis 27:26-33. Isaac said, "I have blessed him and he shall be blessed." Even though it was against his will, Isaac believed God regarding the futures of his sons. He too trusted that God would give his seed the Promised Land.
21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
Read Genesis 48:16 and 21. Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons because he also believed the promise would be fulfilled. Even though he was at the point of death he didn’t turn back or give up his profession.
22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
Read Genesis 50:24-26. Just as his fathers before him, Joseph trusted in the promise made to Abraham. He didn’t have special knowledge—he just knew that God would do what He had promised.
In the same way as these men we find ourselves waiting on the fulfillment of the promise. God will give us rest, and He will save us from the curse. We hold fast that profession and admit that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior!