Part 2 of What Happens When We Have Faith
Last week we started a new blog series about faith. We started by defining faith. We used the definition in Hebrews 11:1, which says,
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
Today we are going to continue our discussion and look at some examples of people in the Bible who exhibited this kind of faith. Let’s start with Noah in Hebrews 11:7.
“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.”
To help us understand this passage we need to look at several related passages in Genesis. Genesis 6:9 says Noah was a righteous man, and he walked in fellowship with God. Genesis 6:13 says God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth and destroy every living thing. He also told Noah to build a large boat, and He gave Noah the blueprints to build it.
OK, so imagine what Noah must have thought. He’s in the middle of the desert, and God wants him to build a big boat. This thing is 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet tall. That’s 1 1/2 times longer than a football field and it’s three stories high. That’s going to take a lot of wood — not to mention all the work. Noah didn’t have access to a union hall to get carpenters, so he had to rely on his family for labor.
Genesis 6:22 says Noah believed God, and he did what God told him to do. That’s fits the definition of faith that we just talked about. I’m sure Noah didn’t understand everything God told him. He probably had never seen a flood, so that was beyond his level of understanding. He was the middle of the desert where ships were not normally in use. And while He was building the ark, he probably got a lot of ridicule from his neighbors. Plus, it was hard work.
He had to find the trees — he had to cut them into lumber — and then put it all together. And he didn’t have any power tools. But Noah believed God, so he built the ark. And then God told Noah to collect pairs of animals and put them in the ark — with all the food they needed. That was a monumental undertaking too. Noah was not a ship builder or zoo keeper, but he did what God told him to do. That’s faith.
OK, let’s look at one more story. Let’s look at Abraham in Hebrews 11:17-18.
“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”
The Bible tells us in Genesis 22 that God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. Sometime earlier God told Abraham that Isaac was the child though whom he would have many descendants. So, imagine what Abraham must have thought.
“God — I’m confused”. You promised to give me a son, and you did — even though Sarah and I were well past child bearing age. You told me I was going to have many descendants through him — as numerous as the stars in the sky. And now you are telling me to kill him!” But then Abraham said, “OK — I’ll do what you say”.
That also fits our definition of faith. Hebrews 11:19 says,
“Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again……”
Abraham never doubted God — even though circumstances demanded otherwise.
These are just two stories of many stories about people in the Bible who had the faith to believe God. There are many other stories we could look at, but I think you get the idea. Next week we are going to talk about how to apply this definition of faith to our lives.
See you then …