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Published / updated: 20 July 2005 | Author: Dele Oke

Faith is the substance - Hebrews 11

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Hebrews 11 is a well-known passage. Many fine exhortations on faith have arisen from the chapter.

In verse three we witness a working God create the world.
In verse four we observe worshipping Abel receive commendation for his sacrifice.
In verse five Enoch's walking with God is a testimony to his faith.
Working, worshipping and walking are all products of faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

Diligently seeking the Lord is what keeps our motives pure and right. It is possible to 'work for God' out of the wrong selfish motive devoid of any godly purpose.

Noah worked for God. He was ?moved with godly fear? (Hebrews 11:7). Here we see work that will pass the test of fire and meet the approval of God. Doing what God calls you to do may not make you popular or even liked. It can be a thankless task like Noah?s. Read Genesis 6. His ministry saw no one respond - save his wife, his son?s and their wives. Nothing much to be put in his monthly bulletin. Yet without the obedience of this man we would have no ?heir of righteousness?.

Peter Drucker unintentionally describes the lesson we can deduct from Noah as -

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

Yet this is what many are busy doing today. Imagine Noah building a bigger meeting centre instead of concentrating on the Ark!

We often view Hebrews 11 as 'spiritual men' doing 'spiritual things' because of their great faith. In reality it is simple men (and woman) doing mundane things in pure obedience to God despite all the opposition and distractions going on around them. In faith these ones continue doing what they have been called to do even though they have no idea of the outcome.

We observe this in Abraham (Hebrews 11:8) as he waited on God. Knowing not where he had been called to go. We can admire this same faith in Sarah as she waited for a child when human reason dictated it was impossible.

With Moses we can monitor a man who warred for God (Hebrews 11: 23 - 29), making way for Joshua and Rahab who followed diligently in his steps as they continued the warfare of faith (Hebrews 11:30-31).

Hebrews 11 does not intend to exhaust the names of all the champions of faith. Several of them are mentioned in verse 32 to 33. More importantly, it includes those 'nameless ones' who lost their life?s on account of their faith (Hebrews 11:34 -40). Faith is not measured by what we see but by how much of God?s will we have done.

There are many of you reading this article that will never see your names posted in journals or commended on the television or radio. Working faithfully away in some village or town you are engrossed in the home, work or some other type of vineyard God has called you into. You are faithful enough to remain working, worshipping, walking, waiting and warring for God despite all the odds. That is what faith is about.

As we begin the first few verses of Hebrews 12 we hear the encouraging words that God uses to credit those who persist in faith - continue looking up to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Who for the joy that awaited His obedient walk of faith, endured the temporary hardship of not being recognised or acknowledged, and persisted in His work as He knew He would eventually meet the joy of His heavenly father.