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.
- He stepped out in faith – he left Ur (hometown). Can you imagine waking up to a call from God that says “Pack up and I will tell you where to go.” I mean you don’t even have a map.
- The author shows that Abraham consistently trusted God- taking him at his word and following his direction even when there really was nothing to see.
- Now it’s not like Abraham didn’t have his faith failures (otherwise known as doing things his own way
- 1.) He was told to leave Ur and to not take family. The stories about Lot are a reflection of that mistake.
- 2.) He as told to dwell in the land , actually told to stay put ( Dwell) to persevere – instead he ended up going to Egypt and pimping his wife for his own protection
- 3.) And that whole Hagar & Ishmael thing did not work well either.
- But you don’t read about the failures of any of these guys in Hebrews. This is pure pep talk.
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.
- Faith the way we use it in a worldly sense is not the same as faith used in a Kingdom sense.
- We all have faith in something or someone based on past history and experience.
- But kingdom faith is based on no previous experience or knowledge.
- Based on things NOT seen.
- V.10 dispels the notion that the OT saints were looking only for “eternal” Earthly rewards – this is not so.
11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
- Various translations;
- NIV = And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise
- KJV = 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.
- Mounce = By faith Abraham was enabled to become a father—even though Sarah herself was sterile and beyond the normal age of childbearing— because he regarded as faithful the one who had made the promise.
- Like Abraham leaving all to go into an unknown land, like Sarah believing she was going to have a child – even knowing it was physically impossible.
12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
- The promise to Abraham
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
- (V13-16) An aside – Don’t hang on to this world too much
- We are Pilgrims, just passing through
- God has built for us a better city
- Again – keep the faith –keep on keeping on
- This message is definitely for us all these centuries later.
14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
- What kept Abraham going, why didn’t he just chuck it, pack up his wagon, put on the bumper sticker ‘UR or Bust’ and go back home?
- But Abraham wasn’t looking back at where he came from, but looking forward. He knew that heaven was the ultimate purpose.
- This is the message throughout Hebrews – don’t go back or you will miss the good stuff.
- For the Hebrew Christians the going back was going back to their UR – Temple Judaism. What will they lose??? Their salvation.
16 But as it is, 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.
- A heavenly country – the New Jerusalem
- Who makes the city? … God!
- Read Revelation 21 – Let’s take a guided tour of heaven.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,
- When his faith was tested, he offered back up the one promise that God had actually delivered on
- This one Abraham did not fail at.
- God gave Abraham the faith first so that he could go through this.
18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
- The whole family was to come through Isaac
- God not only gives the promise – he doesn’t just say “come and get it” – he comes down and gives it to us.
- On the other side – God gives the promise and gives us the capacity to believe the promise
19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
- To Abraham, Isaac was already dead … at least in his mind
- Funny, the Bible said that it took them 3 days to get there.
- How many days was Isaac dead in Abe’s mind before being raised back up?
- What kind of faith did Isaac need to have? How old was he?
- He could probably take the old man, tie him up on the altar and sacrifice him.