Chapter 11 – All Inspiring On The Highway Of Faith
Faith sustained patriarchs, prophets and martyrs in all previous ages, and their example is worthy of emulation.
1. The Value of Faith, vv. 1-7. Its Simple Expression.
This chapter which illustrates faith is full of good works.
Faith described, 1. Faith is not defined, but is described by what it does. Foundation of things hoped for – it rests on the faithfulness of God. Conviction of things not seen -conviction is produced by demonstration.
Faith rests in the truth of what is said, Mark 1. 15.
Faith rests upon what we hear, Rom. 9. 33; 10. 11.
Faith is directed to the One spoken about, John 3. 11.
Every instance of faith in this chapter comes under the category of “things hoped for” or “things unseen”. These brief biographies illustrate the presence, principle, power and possibilities of faith.
Faith approved by God, 2. The good report of the elders was obtained in the sphere of faith.
Faith apprehends the power of God, 3. The “word” is not the Logos, but the revealed Word of God. They understood the method of divine government in the world.
Faith approaches the presence of God, 4. Abel comes first, not Adam or Cain. Abel realised he was a fallen creature, and accepted the right way of approach to God, but the way of Cain was the first step in the evolution of religion.
Faith acknowledged by blessing from God. Abel obtained witness; God testified over his gifts.
Faith appreciates fellowship with God. The actual faith of Enoch is not mentioned in Genesis. Abel did priestly work, but Enoch did prophetic work, Jude 14.
Faith acknowledges the existence and the beneficence of God, 6; this gives God pleasure.
Faith acts in the fear of God, 7. Noah was divinely instructed; see Matthew 2. 12, 22. Noah, inspired to prepare an ark, by faith became an heir of righteousness.
The Lord Jesus promotes every one of these features, Heb. 12. 2, and each was found perfectly expressed in His own character and conduct.
2. The Vicissitudes of Faith, vv. 8-22. Its Splendid Encouragement.
New ventures, 8-12. Faith obeys the call of God, 8; Abraham’s obedience was prompt, practical and pleasing to God.
Faith expressed in pilgrimage, 9; separated, contented. Faith enriched by future prospects, 10; he left an earthly city for the celestial city.
Faith ensures production, 11. Sarah renounced the flesh, and relied upon God.
Faith enjoys prosperity, 12; spiritual seed (stars) and natural seed (sand).
New vision, 13-16. Vision – seen afar off. Confession -strangers. Devotion – no desire to return. Aspiration -a better country. Compensation – God not ashamed.
New victories, 17-22. Tested by God, 17. Trusting in God, 18-19. Victory over the fear of the future,, 17-19. Victory over the will of the flesh; both sons blessed, 20. Victory over the will of man; faith in blessing, 21. Victory over the opposition of man; Joseph looked ahead, 22.
3. The Vigilance of Faith, vv. 23-28. Its Spiritual Experiences.
Faith amidst the dangers in life, 23. Overcoming the fear of men. Faith acts decisively in a crisis, 23-28. Faith overcoming the praise of men.
Faith’s choice – suffering, 25. Its consideration – esteemed reproach, 26. Its confidence – reward, 26. Its consciousness – seeing the invisible. Its consistency – kept passover. Its course – through the Red Sea, 29.
4. The Victories of Faith, 29-40. Its Strange Exploits.
Faith and the presence of God, 23-29. Faith and the Word of God, 29-31. Faith and the power of God, 32-35. Faith and the wisdom of God, 36-40.
Dependence upon God for protection, 29; victory from God. Dependence upon God for power, 30; victory for God.
Red Sea – faith first stands still and then steps out on the impossible. Jericho – faith simple in its activity, singular in its achievement.
Faith assured of deliverance, 31. Wilderness wanderings not mentioned between verses 29, 30. Faith’s acts of devotion, 32-35. Moral victories in the land.
The warrior-like grandeur of these heroes is unmatched. They were valiantly unselfish, purposefully strong and transparently sincere. As types, we note:
Abel – Christ the Righteous One.
Enoch – Christ received up in glory.
Noah – Christ the Rejected One.
Abraham – Christ the Stranger and the Pilgrim.
Isaac – Christ the Son Sacrificed.
Jacob – Christ the True Servant.
Joseph – Christ the Sovereign.
Moses – Christ the Prophet and Apostle.
Gideon – Christ the Conqueror.
Barak – Christ the Light.
Samson – Christ our Strength.
Jephthae – Christ our Leader.
David – Christ the Beloved.
Samuel – Christ our Guide.
5. Faith’s Endurance, vv. 34-40. Faith suffering for God.
“And others”. They remained faithful to God in spite of all the persecution that they suffered. They had faith in God’s power to sustain. They suffered on account of their faith and were martyred.
“Cruel mockings” – David, 2 Sam. 16. 7-8; Nehemiah, Neh. 4. 1-4. “Imprisonments” – Micaiah, 1 Kings 22. 27; Jeremiah, Jer. 32. 2; 36. 5. “Stoned” – Naboth, 1 Kings 21. 13, Zechariah, 2 Chron. 24. 20-22. “Sawn asunder” -Isaiah may be referred to here, 2 Kings 24. 3-4. “Tempted” – Micaiah, 2 Chron. 18. 23, 26. “Slain by the sword” - 1 Kings 18. 4; Jer. 2. 30.
They were strengthened by God, 35. They pleased God, 39. They will share the blessing of resurrection, 40.
Suggestions for Study.
Can you trace steps in the Christian life in this chapter? – what we commend, what we enjoy, the price we pay, the trials we meet with and the provision of God for the way.