A Study Of Hebrews 11 – Part 3
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, asina strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:7-10
Faith for Salvation And The Miracle of Birth
The faith of Noah is pivotal in the history of mankind. On his faith alone he obeyed God and built and ark that was the salvation of himself and his family, from whom now every human being sprang after the flood. Think about it. Over the whole world there was utter destruction by virtue of the judgment of God by the flood. Only Noah and his family escaped to replenish the earth and produce sons and daughters. We are all now the sons of Noah, Jews and Gentiles, every nation and every race of mankind.
On this truth alone all arguments of race and clan fall meaningless, because we are the descendants of one father. Moreover, before Noah in the beginning there was only Adam and from his seed sprang all mankind thus even more making us all one family. But from the beginning after the fall the clash of brother against brother was first manifested in Cain who killed his brother Abel because of jealousy, envy and hatred. Ultimately the whole world became rife with sin debauchery, hatred and murder. In the midst of all that, God still found one man with whom He could show His favor.
God honored Noah’s faith because he sought first and foremost to believe God and to please Him, caring nothing for the acceptance and favor of men, nor being intimidated by their ridicule, insults, mockery and scorn. His only aim was to please God. Doing so by faith he built the ark and saved his family and the host of animals God brought aboard with them.
Our faith is not just about ourselves. It is also beneficial to those we love. Surely Noah’s children assisted him in building the ark but it was his faith on which they hung their hope and his faith was hung on his hope in God.
Abraham’s faith was another pivotal moment in the history of mankind because through his faith came the son of promise of Salvation to Israel and then to the world, Jesus Christ the Messiah, by human lineage and by God in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was through Abraham’s faith that the seed of the promise would come. And we are Abraham’s seed by faith in Jesus Christ.
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29
The natural seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob produced the twelve sons of Jacob who became the twelve tribes of Israel. Through Judah’s lineage came Joseph the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. [Matthew 1]
But the extraordinary faith of Abraham to believe God even against all known human understanding of ways of nature was remarkable; particularly after he was called upon to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God refers to Isaac not Ishmael as Abraham’s only son, [Genesis 2:12-16] because Isaac, not Ishmael, was the son of Abraham and his wife Sarah, making him the son of the promise. [See Genesis 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]
The story of Abraham’s faith unfolds over several chapters beginning with Genesis 12. A snapshot of the story is this. God calls Abram to get away from his father’s house and all his people and go to land that He would show him. Abram obeys but not completely because though he leaves most of his kindred in Haran, he takes his nephew and all his house with him. Eventually, they would have to part company to keep the peace between their two houses.
When Abram is finally separated from all his other kindred and left with only his wife and their servants, God calls him out and makes a covenant with him with a promise that he would be the father of a multitude, indeed the father of many nations. But this was an amazing promise since at the time Abram was well into his 80s. After nearly six years went by he continued talk about God’s promise that he would be the Father of multitude. But he and Sarai, his wife still had no children and now they were both too old to even think about having children.
So Sarai devises a scheme to stop all the talk about having children at their age. She tells Abram to take one of her handmaidens, Hagar in particular, and have children by her, and he was quite willing to oblige her. Well, to her surprise Abram gets Hagar pregnant and she gives birth to a son and calls him Ishmael. Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born. Things seem to be ok for a while, but as the child grew and was favored in Abram’s eyes, Hagar forgot her place as a servant and sought to elevate herself above Sarai her mistress. Her insubordination leads to Sarai sending her and her son away from the camp. But the Lord finds her in the desert and rescues her and her son, and tells her to return to her mistress and submit to her, until such time as she is released to take her place among the sons and daughters of her son Ishmael when he comes of age to father his own house.
In the mean time God appears to Abram again and further reveals the extent of the covenant he is making with him to be the father of many nations and to affirm that Sarai will bear him a son in due time. Sure enough, when Abram, now called Abraham, was ninety-nine he and Sarah, no longer Sarai, have a son whom they name Isaac, the seed of the promise through whom all families of the earth would be blessed by Jesus Christ.
Through Noah’s faith a remnant of mankind was saved through the flood. Through Abraham’s faith the world would be saved and all creation would be restored through Jesus Christ.
Do you think God can’t do wonders through one man’s faith? Noah and Abraham would have a different story to tell you. Then there are even more to speak of who did amazing things through faith