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. Susan Lincks says:

    Such a beautiful, convicting, and true commentary. It definitely shows where my eyes should be instead of what they are on.

  2. Terri Baldwin says:

    “Faith” in the unseen! Confident trust in the eternal God who is all powerful, infinetly wise and eternally trustworthy

  3. Jessica Fehland says:

    Erin Davis, thanks for sharing! This is such a wonderful community!

  4. justine viola says:

    May we all experience that type of faith! There is nothing God isn’t capable of. His love is all encompassing and even though things may not go as we have planned, he has something better for us. It’s helpful for me to remember that we are his beloved children. He wants so much for us. I couldn’t imagine wanting my daughter to go to hell, it would break my heart if she had to suffer a single second in her life. And I know that’s what God feels for all of us. God isn’t looking to condemn us. I just feel so lucky!

  5. GramsieSue says:

    These men & women of faith were not perfect, but they were devoted to God and trusted His Word. Yes! Because there are no perfect people! In the entryway of our church there is a sign that says, “No Perfect People Allowed!” So many pre-Christians don’t think they will be welcome in church because they are not “perfect”.
    None of us are…
    And none of us have perfect faith.
    Sometimes it is so hard to wait for the fulfillment of God’s purposes…In God’s time.

    I know that God can heal Steve.
    I know that He wants only the very best for us.
    He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.
    He doesn’t need me to tell Him how, or when.

    And just like Jesus delayed in going to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, it wasn’t because He didn’t love them. He surely did…He wept.
    His delay was necessary for accomplishing a much bigger agenda than simply healing.
    God had a much bigger plan.

    When He delays, He is really putting pieces together that we have not even thought of.
    When the time is ripe, when all the pieces have been put into place, God’s answer will be revealed.

    God’s timing is an astounding thing.

    So I will persevere in prayer, not to change God’s mind, or wear Him down, but to let Him work in my heart. This time of waiting is necessary. And God’s answer will come…
    at the perfect time…
    With the best outcome.

    And so my faith grows.

  6. Anita Lightbourne says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray I would have faith to fully live out God’s calling for my life. That I would do what he has called me to do even if it sounds scary and I’m unsure about it.

  8. Mercy says:

    Oh my, the commentary of today is exploded and packed with goodness, understanding and wisdom from so many of you, for which I benefit greatly. What a blessed community we have. From all the examples of faith giants that got mentioned today in Hebrews 11, I noticed that they all loved not their lives unto death (And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death-Revelation 12:11). They all took risk to choose faith over their own lives and reputations, for the sake of faith- and that pleases God immensely… for them to make the elite hall of faith. Faith will cause the person to persevere, while emotional decisions cannot and will fall far shorter. Paul said this, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw ….. the fire (the consuming fire that is God Himself) will try to prove what sort of work it is that we do (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). As the word of the Bible says, may we –who by faith- will subdue kingdoms, obtain promises, stop the mouth of lions, quench the fire of violence, escape the edge of the sword, out of our weaknesses are made strong, turn to flight the enemies of all evil. Without us, they should not be made perfect, by God’s design (Hebrews 11:40). What an amazing grace. Let us vow to Him, whatever you call me to do Lord, by Your Grace I will do it. Be blessed dear sisters.

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