“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” –Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV)
The Book of Hebrews has been called the “Faith Hall of Fame” (Luci Swindoll quote) and a number of men have been given access to that hall according to their faith.
Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
According to the Book of Hebrews, the men of faith included Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Others are mentioned at the end of the Book of Hebrews.
ABRAHAM–He was noted as the “father of faith.” God called him from his home in Mesopotamia to journey to the promised land, where God promised to multiply Abraham’s offspring and make them into a great people and a blessing to the nations. There were a lot of decisions along the way that Abraham made that appear to make him doubt his faith; but in the end he persevered and God did accomplish all that he had for Abraham to do and He blessed him accordingly.
Hebrews 11:8-12 says: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city, with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (NIV)
MOSES–He was noted for leading the Jews out of slavery, unleashing the ten plagues against Egypt per God’s instructions, guiding the freed slaves for forty years in the wilderness, carrying down the law from Mount Sinai, and preparing the Jews to enter the land of Canaan.
Hebrews 11:23-30 says, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the King’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.” (NIV)
ISAAC–By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. Hebrews 11:20 (NIV)
JACOB–By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21 (NIV)
JOSEPH–By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. Hebrews 11:22 (NIV)
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV)
Hebrews 11:32-38 says “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (NIV)
All of these individuals were “commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39, NIV)
Men of faith are men who are faithful, have integrity, are great, godly, strong, and courageous. All of the above proved to have such characteristics as they believed in what God had promised.
Faith then is believing in what has been promised but not necessarily seeing the results of that faith before we die. Seeds of faith are planted every day without our knowing the outcome. Our actions speak louder than words. Planting a seed of hope, love, and grace in another person’s life should be our desire. Let God do the rest.