Day 16

Living by Faith

from the Hebrews reading plan

Hebrews 11:1-40, Psalm 39:12-13, Luke 13:34-35

BY Erin Davis

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I once paid hard-earned money to tour The Bowling Hall of Fame. One of the exhibits was a long hallway of portraits painted of those whose greatest achievement was knocking down a lot of pins with a very heavy ball. 

Isn’t our world filled with such hallways? We celebrate silly things. We are impressed by those who amass wealth that cannot purchase anything of lasting significance. We hand out plaques to those who spend decades shuffling papers or building things destined for the burn pile. We celebrate celebrities, knowing full well that they are mere mortals like us.

Hallway after hallway after hallway of portraits honoring achievements that are ultimately insignificant. Not so in the Word of God. Scholars have long branded Hebrews 11 as the “Hall of Faith.” Consider the portraits that hang on these walls.

Let’s consider: Enoch lived 365 years (Genesis 5:23) before he sidestepped death and was taken up to heaven (Hebrews 11:5). Noah built a giant ark because God told him to, then watched humanity drown (v.7). Abraham said yes to God’s remarkable call to offer his only son as a burnt sacrifice (v.17). Moses led the Israelites across the bottom of the sea as heaven-held waves churned on either side (v.29). Rahab welcomed enemy spies into her home, knowing she’d face execution if caught (v.31). Then there are the nameless faces of this hallway. Others experienced mocking and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. “They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted and mistreated” (vv.36–37). 

Unlike the bowling hall of fame, the portraits in this hallway take my breath away. Truly, 

the world was not worthy of them (v.38). 

The heroes of our faith did not fight for all that’s fleeting. They did not fritter away their lives on tchotchkes. They didn’t fill the storehouses of their hearts and minds with things that could not last. Instead, they lived surrendered in radical obedience to God. They deserve our applause. May we join the ranks of those whose greatest achievement is saying “yes” to the one true God.

Post Comments (45)

45 thoughts on "Living by Faith"

  1. Cubanita Prosper says:

    Verse 15, 16 , 39, 40—wow!

  2. Cubanita Prosper says:

    Thank you for today’s reading! I did it yesterday and can’t stop thinking about it, in awww

  3. Kimberly Z says:

    @Molly R your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. As somebody who is consumed with anxiety around the way I want my life to be and not the way my life actually is I find peace in your words. I hope I can find peace in Gods timing for my life and be able to look back and see all the wondrous things he was doing for me all along. Praying for all of you today.

  4. Kimberly Z says:

    @Molly R your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. As somebody who is consumed with anxiety around the way I want my life to be and not the way ky

  5. Kimberly Z says:

    @Molly R your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. As somebody who feels very surrounded by the anxiety of what I want for my life and what my

  6. Cynthia Johnston says:

    God, you are the Knowable Unknown! You reveal yourself in your vast creation. You reveal yourself in your written word. You reveal yourself in your living word. Thank you for revealing yourself to me in faith as well as these written in Hebrews 11!

  7. Cindy Hanna says:

    I normally read the Hall of fame in Hebrew hurriedly think to myself, Yeah, Yeah, I’ve heard these stories a thousand times. Today was different. Today I paid tribute to them all by looking at their wounds, their trials, terror and so much more. Acknowledging their courage and faithfulness. What a glorious testimony to God their lives display for all of us to praise and seek to follow. They are waiting for us to join them at the finish. What a cloud of witnesses surround us!

  8. Janie Diffly says:

    This is what stood out to me today;
    40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. – Hebrews 11:40
    As I’m understanding this— they along with us- are the body of Christ- the church- Christ’s bride! I’d love someone to add to this summation of mine.

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