On to Hebrews 11:8-16
v8: Abraham obeyed when he was called to go: Abraham is known, in the Scripture, for his faithfulness. True faith will produce obedience.
- He went out, not knowing where he was going: Faith led him to go out searching for a place, the land of promise (i.e. Israel). Abraham did not know where it was, but he went, never- the- less, because he believed that G-d would guide him. This obedience caused him to know, in an abiding way, that G-d was not going to leave or forsake him. This truth is foundational for us, in order that we might live in this same way.
v9: As in a foreign country: Abraham moved, he altered his life and lived, among a foreign people. He lived in a way that did not reflect the culture, commitment, or lifestyle of those who lived around him.
- Dwelling in tents: This is a dwelling place that is not permanent but rather temporary. Abraham went to this place understanding that he was only going to be there short-term. This was only a paradigm, an example, of where he was going to spend eternity.
- Isaac and Jacob: His son and grandson. The promises G-d made to Abraham impacted not only him but also future generations.
- Promise: A promise is a statement that someone makes. In this case, this statement of promise comes from G-d, who cannot lie. He has made promises to us for the purpose of motivating us, encouraging us, to walk with Him. Abraham did what he did because he believed he was going to inherit the promises of G-d.
v10: Waited for the city which has foundations: The New Jerusalem. They were seeking a Kingdom City which G-d was building and where He was moving.
v11: She was past the age: By nature, she was no longer fertile. In a natural sense she could not fall pregnant, but, by faith, she supernaturally conceived and gave birth to a child.
- She judged Him faithful who had promised: If we believe that G-d is faithful it is going to produce faithfulness in our lives. When we walk in disobedience (faithlessness) it shows that we really do not believe G-d. Sarah was a faithful woman who believed G-d. She responded obediently to the things of G-d and, miraculously, G-d’s faithfulness to her was manifested in the breaking of the laws of nature.
v12: From one: Meaning from Abraham and his relationship with Sarah.
- Him as good as dead: Abraham was a very old man. In the flesh/natural realm it was impossible for him and Sarah to have children.
- Innumerable (Without number): G-d did what was so improbable, but He did so because His people, who wanted to participate in the things of G-d, responded to Him by faith.
v13: These all died: G-d had made promises to them but, what is surprising is that, though they embraced what they had been promised they did not receive them. These individuals all had a testimony of faithfulness to G-d, responding to His Word and promises. Even though they are dead (from our perspective) their faith willproduce an outcome for them because G-d never lies, and His promises are real and true.
v14: A homeland: They were seeking the land of their Father – G-d. Being Kingdom minded, they did not want to receive the promises in this world. These individuals matured and were not upset that they did not receive here on earth. They wanted to receive the fullness of the promises in the age to come, in the land of their Father. What motivated them was intimacy with G-d.
Note: The promises of G-d produce two things in our lives:
1. Greater faith/faithfulness which leads to growth and maturity. As immature believers we are going to be challenged. Our faith is going to be tested – not for our failure but for our growth/maturity.
2. Faithfulness produces a transformation in our ability to worship G-d. Worship brings the greatest change into our lives.
v15: When we forget about this world and our focus is on the Kingdom we will not think about where we have come from but about where/who we are going to – The Mighty G-d. (Phil 3:14). Although the children of Israel left Egypt (metaphorical for this world) and were headed to the Promised Land they constantly remembered, and longed for, life back in Egypt (especially related to food, Ex 16:3. Food does not last or fill us up for very long. Their physical needs caused them to constantly remember the things they had left behind. On the contrary, we need to not concern ourselves with our physical needs but with our spiritual ones. G-d has promised to meet our physical needs if we seek His Kingdom first– Matt 6:25-34).
v16: (Something) better: We do not want the things of the past, we want something better than those, Kingdom things.
- Heavenly: If we are faithful, we are going to be Kingdom minded. We think about what will be, as revealed to us through the promises of G-d.
- G-d is not ashamed to be called their G-d: G-d has accepted us because we have received the gospel and are in a covenantal relationship with Messiah. We are not accepted based on who we are or what we have/have not done, but we are accepted because of who Messiah is and because of what He has done. We are invited into G-d’s house and are rejoiced over because of the sufficiency of Messiah’s work (Zeph 3:17). What a wonderful promise!
- Prepared a city: The New Jerusalem