A Study of Hebrews 11 - Part 2
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it isimpossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:3-6
“… the worlds were framed by the word of God...”
In Genesis 1: 1 we read, “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth.” And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:2-3
And in John 1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
The key phrases for our study in these passages I have made bold. God created all things by the Words He spoke. God is the Word and by the Word He created all things.
We can’t see words, but we can see the result of words all around us. We can see the effects of words on the faces of children of all ages. Even babies respond to words in very visceral ways, positively or negatively. Words have power.
I remember hearing as a child that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Now we all know that the intent of that little rhyme is to make children feel they do not have to be victimized by another person’s false accusations, false rhetoric and attempts to intimidate and threaten them. We were taught to ignore the ranting of the bully. But words can strike at our very heart when we believe them or allow them to penetrate our thinking. They can shake us to our very foundation. But, if our hearts are fixed, trusting in the Lord, and our eyes are fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith we will not be moved, we will not be wearied and faint in our minds at the words of evil men.
“Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.” Psalm 112:6-8
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily besetus, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Most importantly we understand that all creation came into being by the power of God’s words. Words are important. By faith we understand how to create things from things that cannot be seen. What we say can create life or death.
“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:20 21
This is an astounding revelation to consider. Life and death rests on the words we speak! Our words, spoken in faith, spoken in confident expectation that they will come to pass are powerful indeed. What we have confidence in is God’s Word spoken from our hearts. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. No. Not every idle word we speak will come to pass. And thank God for that. But every word like every seed has potential to reproduce what is in it whether spoken idly or not. Apple seeds producing apple trees will produce apples. Idle words can have effect on those who hear them. Words spoken into the atmosphere like a pebble casually cast into a still body of water causes a radiation of ripples/waves out from the point of contact on its surface.
This is one important reason why Jesus said we will stand judgment for every idle word.
“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:36
Our justification or condemnation will be determined by our words. If life and death are in the power of our tongues, in the power of our words, then our words can heal, our words can comfort. They can encourage, empower, exhort, and they can create. Yes, we can, as imitators of God speak of things that are not as though they were and by doing so bring them into being.
“As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Romans 4:17
Witness the forward thinking parent who continually encourages their children from birth to succeed and achieve high goals in their lives, declaring them to be smart, intelligent, wise, strong and capable of achieving anything they set their mind and heart to do long before they see any realization of their words.
Abel’s righteous offering was acceptable to God because he offered it by faith consistent with a true sacrifice of the firstlings of the increase of his flocks. He offered a sacrifice of life. Cain’s offering was not acceptable because unlike Abel’s offering it was not a sacrifice of blood, but an offering from the fruit of the cursed ground. Even though Cain hated his brother and murdered him because God accepted his offering and declared him righteous, God’s righteousness still speaks through Abel’s blood.
Enoch, by faith never experienced physical death, but was translated supernaturally into Heaven because he had the testimony that he pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because those who come to him must believe that He is. Think about that for a moment. Is it possible to come to God and not believe that He is? What or who would you be coming to if you come to someone you don’t believe exists. So what is the message here? The fundamental requisite for approaching God for any petition is to recognize and acknowledge that He is GOD. Not just a god or some higher spiritual being or force. No. God is specifically, uniquely, exclusively God and God alone, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). They must believe that God is fully expressed in Jesus Christ, that He is the Head over all things, and that He alone is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Consider what things you do diligently. What does it mean to diligently seek the Lord?
1) constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything
2) done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking.
Do any of these describe how we seek to know God’s will or His ways on any matter? Do we pray with diligence, with persistence, with perseverance, painstakingly pursuing God’s will? What does that look like?
Simply put, it is the attitude of our hearts mingled with the determination to stand firm in our faith to believe that when we pray what God has willed concern us and those we love He hears us, and knowing that He hears us we know that we have the petitions that we ask of Him. Then stand and refuse to let the devil rob us of the answer to our prayers.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14-15