There is that word again. I liked it before but not so much now. The word is “confidence”. We read it before in Hebrews 10:22 where we discovered that we could confidently enter into the very presence of God because of Jesus, where we could get close to God and be His child. I like the idea of being a child, having child-like faith. That sounds safe and secure. That feels comfortable and peaceful. But now Paul is using that word “confidence” again, but this time it does not sound at all safe or smart.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11: 1
Faith is confidence in what we hope will happen, and assurance about what we can’t even see? Hoping something will happen and believing it will happen even if we can’t see anything? Really?? Quite frankly, this sounds a little crazy and unnerving. It sounds a lot like stumbling around in the dark, not seeing where we are going, not knowing where the light switch is, not knowing when the big, bad boogie man is going to jump out at us.
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” Hebrews 11:3
As I keep reading this chapter, things seem to get worse. We are told that the whole universe which we can see with our eyes, was not made out of stuff that we can see. Quite frankly, that does not make any sense. How can you make something out of nothing? Who would believe such a thing?
The answer to my question is that Abel did. Enoch did. Noah did. Abraham and Sara did. Isaac did. Jacob did. Joseph did. Moses did. The walls of Jericho did. Rahab did. Women did, and a whole lot of other people did.
None of these people saw the end result of their faith. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises…” Hebrews 11:13. They simply lived their faith. They were confident that if they lived their faith, that God would be faithful. “and were persuaded of them (the promises) and embraced them” Hebrews. 11:13. They believed that they were making something out of something even though they could not see it.
This chapter of Hebrews is full of action words. Abel offered, Enoch pleased, Noah moved, Abraham obeyed, Sara received strength, Jacob worshipped, Joseph gave instructions about his bones, Moses endured, the walls of Jericho fell, Rahab perished not, women received their dead back to life, and others were tortured. They were all confident that they were making something out of something that the world thought was nothing. That something that the world thought was nothing was God’s promises.
All these people mentioned were giants in the faith. They all judged God faithful simply because He promised. They endured hardships, were stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, tormented, afflicted, and wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. The world was not worthy of them. (Hebrews 11:37-38).
Now that I have read to the end of this chapter, all of this still does not make any sense to me, but for a different reason. Even though you and I will probably not experience the hardships that these giants endured, yet we will be right there with them when God fulfills His promise of the Kingdom. That does not make sense. We are so not worthy of them.
“God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”