Summary: In Hebrews 11:8-22, the writer cites the life of Abraham as an example of the life of faith. As we examine the faith of Abraham, we will discover how faith can relate to us.
THE FAITH OF FATHER ABRAHAM
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).
One of the greatest examples of faith is seen in the life of Abraham. In fact, Abraham is known as the “father of the faithful.” The story of Abraham and his family covers much of the book of Genesis. In Hebrews 11:8-22, the writer cites the life of Abraham as an example of the life of faith. As we examine the faith of Abraham, we will discover how faith can relate to us.
I. FAITH GIVES DIRECTION TO LIFE: (11:8).
Abraham was born in what is now the country of Iraq. God called Abraham to leave his country, his home, and his livelihood. God did not tell him where he was to go. All Abraham knew was that God was leading him.
It takes faith to go when God calls us to go. It also takes faith to stay where God wants us to stay. Abraham followed God to a land that was not his own but that would one day become his inheritance. Yet when Abraham died, the only property he owned was a cave that would be used as a family burial place. Years later, his descendents would realize the promise and possess the land. As we trust in God, He will give direction to our lives as well.
II. FAITH CLINGS TO THE PROMISES OF GOD (11:9-10).
God had promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, and that he would be the father of a great number of people. His descendants would be like the sands of the sea. In fact, the name “Abraham” means “father of a multitude.”
Though Abraham’s faith swayed for a time, and though he often ran ahead of God, he clung to God’s promises. When he entered the land of promise, he had no property or children, but he kept clinging to the promises of God that he would one day become a great nation. We learn from Abraham that we too must cling to the promises of God.
III. FAITH REALIZES THE IMPOSSIBLE (11:11-12).
Abraham, and his wife, Sara were both well beyond the child bearing years. Abraham was 100 and Sara was 90 when their son was born.
It was humanly impossible for them to have children. Yet, 25 years after the promise was given, Abraham’s wife Sara gave birth to their son, Isaac. At this point the writer of Hebrews commends the faith of Sara as well as Abraham.
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” We too must remember that our God is faithful and that we can trust His promises.
IV. FAITH EMBRACES THE FUTURE (11:10, 13-16)
Faith by its very nature is future oriented. By Faith Abraham saw beyond time and into the future and even into eternity. Abraham embraced the promises of God and confessed that he and his descendents were strangers and pilgrims on earth.
Even, Abraham’s descendent Joseph saw the promises being fulfilled in the future when he spoke of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and requested that his bones be transported there. “By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (11:22). Hundreds of years later, when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, Joseph’s bones were transported and buried in the promised land.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all learned by faith that their existence was temporary. By faith, the saw beyond the years to the fulfillment of God’s promises. The desire of Abraham as well as all the people of faith was for a “better country” something beyond even promised Canaan: Heaven itself.
We too must keep on looking beyond this life to that “better country“, that “heavenly” home.
Jesus proclaimed that wonderful truth in John 14:1-6. “Let anot your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many 1mansions; if it were not so, 2I would have told you. bI go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, cI will come again and receive you to Myself; that dwhere I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.