Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Faith, as in the context of the whole chapter of Heb 11, is hoping for SOMETHING. What is this ultimate SOMETHING ? It is given in verses 13 to 16. Today, we hope to receive many perishable things in life but of what profit ? Isn’t one wiser to live for imperishable things to COME. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” ― Jim Elliot.
So what is this SOMETHING ? Heb 11:13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They DID NOT RECEIVE what was promised, but they SAW IT all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a HEAVENLY HOMELAND. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Rahab all experienced God’s providence in their lifetime; but what about these people ? Heb 11: 35-39. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.
This is actually a good test of our faith as we examine ourselves. Do we live for the present or for the coming glory ? Our priorities in life will reveal whether we still cling tightly to this world or looking forward to the world to come…Because many do not care, they do not really want to know what is this world to come. So many entertain silly thoughts like we will be apparitions flying around the throne of God, or we are all angel musicians playing harp all day long…All the heroes of faith SAW IT and WELCOMED IT. Do you see it ?
I have prepared two messages to share around the region this year and beyond – The Most Important Truth – God’s Revealed Will for us; and Our Heavenly Homeland – which I feel are so important otherwise we chase many things which are of no profit. We chase peace and security; health and wealth; signs and wonders; prophetic powers; this and that; but as we have seen from Heb 11:35-39, who knows God has chosen some of us to suffer for His name sake ? Besides, the times of difficulty are here. 2 Tim 3:1-5.
Postscript : Allow me a little foolishness to qualify my post. I do have my fair share of signs and wonders, and revelations before someone said that we hardly experience and we do not really appreciate. On the unprofitable side, we get conceited and distracted from our given commission from our Lord Jesus and we thank Him for His grace in always constantly reminding us and preventing us from getting so far off course. 2 Cor 12:1-10. All praise and glory to Him who first loves us.